Ukrainian Paper Artist Shares What It’s Like Making Art in the Midst of the Russian Invasion

Paper Art by Eugenia Zoloto

“When I did the cover for ‘The Dollmaker from Krakow,' about the Holocaust, I had no idea how I will be close to this situation with this illustration. And how many tears will shed, and how many houses will burn down … I didn’t think that this was possible in the 21st century.”
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, My Modern Met may earn an affiliate commission. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Paper artist Eugenia Zoloto has her livelihood tied to making art. But when Russia invaded Ukraine, the Kyiv-based artist was forced to pause her cut-paper creations due to the threats leveled by war. As many creatives know, however, art is a vital part of survival in this world, and Zoloto is creating again.

Zoloto recalls what the end of February was like for her and her family. “The first two weeks of the war, for me, especially, I couldn't create,” she shares with My Modern Met, “because we moved to a quiet place near Kyiv not to hear and see the explosions (I have two kids), but then blasts found us there too.” After determining they’d be better off back in the city, they left for Kyiv. “We decided to return home because many specialists said that the capital is the most secure and safe place.”

Coming back home meant a return to her materials, so Zoloto was able to pick up her craft knife and get to work. “Art shops didn't open and I cut with the last blades I have,” she recalls. Being back and working amidst the invasion also made her consider what she wanted to say in her art. Previously, she’s created life-size cut paper dresses that contain intricate cutouts of fantastical landscapes and ornate patterns. Her newest pieces are smaller (but not less detailed) and centered around humanity and hope.

“I felt so much mental suffering, so I decided to create more positive art,” she explains. “I want to believe this helps people focus on the victory and also that we will see that only kindness, only love helps us not to be stuck in war and hatred.”

Zoloto is thankful for people around the world who are supporting Ukraine and Ukrainian artists. “Lots of us not only lost our jobs but even homes,” she shares. “But we see how the world is connected, we see how many kindhearted people are all around our Earth. That helped us a lot in our fight for humanity.”

When Russia invaded Ukraine, Kyiv-based artist Eugenia Zoloto had to pause her cut-paper creations.

Paper Art by Eugenia Zoloto

Paper Art by Eugenia Zoloto

“Someday our love will grow again.”

She and her family fled Kyiv for a “quiet place,” but they decided to go back home.

Paper Art by Eugenia Zoloto

“I want all the stones and bricks to turn into flowers. And from there everyone came out happy into this spring.”

Now that she's back, Zoloto is making art again.

Paper Art by Eugenia Zoloto

“I felt so much mental suffering, so I decided to create more positive art,” she explains to My Modern Met.

Paper Art by Eugenia Zoloto

“We say like this: to see wisdom, we must be wise. I want to paraphrase: to see Ukraine, you have to be a human.”

Paper Art by Eugenia Zoloto

“I want to believe this helps people focus on the victory and also that we will see that only kindness, only love helps us not to be stuck in war and hatred.”

Paper Art by Eugenia Zoloto

Paper Art by Eugenia Zoloto

Eugenia Zoloto: Etsy | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Eugenia Zoloto.

Related Articles:

Artist Hand-Cuts Intricately Detailed and Delicate Silhouettes Out of Paper

Kirigami: The Ancient Art of Paper Cutting and How Artists Are Keeping It Alive

Amazing Hand-Cut Paper Art Mimics the Delicate Effect of Lace

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content