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.”