Ukrainians use Pembrokeshire art and scenery to overcome tragedy

TWO Ukrainians are using the power of art and the stunning scenery of Pembrokeshire to overcome the tragic circumstances of the ongoing war in their home country.

Polina Hlyniana, 27, and her mother Vira Hlyniana, 61, were inspired by the county’s open landscapes and world-famous beaches to produce artworks that were featured in an exhibition at the VC Gallery.

Polina and Vira say they were lucky to come to Pembrokeshire after their home town of Nizhyn (near kyiv) was blockaded and almost occupied by Russian troops, but the local army was able to hold the town and keep it in the hands of the Ukrainians.

Polina is originally a musician who plays both the piano and a Ukrainian instrument, the bandura.

Vira is an artist who has transferred her talents from capturing the extraordinary expanses of Ukraine to the stunning coastline of Pembrokeshire.

When the couple arrived, they visited a number of galleries and Vira was inspired by the works she had seen, mentioning local artist Barbara Price.

Vira told the Western Telegraph it is mainly inspired by the landscapes of Pembrokeshire.

Vira (left) is a Ukrainian artist and Polina (27) is a musician. Photo Western Telegraph

For her daughter Polina, her life has been turned upside down by the war.

She lost her job and had to leave her brother back home.

“After a few weeks I made the decision to go to another country because it was too dangerous,” Polina said.

We moved to Poland where my sister lives but her house was too small so we started looking for other countries and a good friend of mine sent a message saying she had a friend in Pembrokeshire and that friend wanted to help.

Western Telegraph: Vira is inspired by the Pembrokeshire landscape.  Photo Western TelegraphVira is inspired by the landscape of Pembrokeshire. Photo Western Telegraph


Western Telegraph: Vira's works have been exhibited at the VC Gallery.  Photo Western TelegraphVira’s works have been exhibited at the VC Gallery. Photo Western Telegraph

VC Gallery caretaker Barry John said that as soon as he saw Vira’s work he was impressed.

“Coming from war-torn country to peaceful Pembrokeshire is quite a change,” Barry said. “I was very impressed with his work. She has a very good level.”

Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVs) Gwyneth Jones said it’s great what Vira has been able to achieve in the county.

“It’s fantastic to see our campaign painted with her own eyes and with her own techniques and it’s great that the VC Gallery has the work on display,” said Gwyneth.

“She comes from war-torn country in Pembrokeshire and what’s important is that she’s had encouragement, which is what we want people to feel.”

When asked what they are, as Barry said, they are “normal people who want to get on with their lives.”

Western Telegraph: Wira and Polina with Barry John and Gwyneth Jones of the PAVs.  Photo Western TelegraphWira and Polina with Barry John and Gwyneth Jones of the PAVs. Photo Western Telegraph

Pembrokeshire County Council said the authority was working with partners to support communities and refugees through resettlement.

A spokesperson said: “The number of Ukrainians currently living here under the combined programs of Homes for Ukraine and the Welsh Government’s Super Sponsor Scheme is 207.

“Pembrokeshire County Council is committed to providing support for Ukrainian refugees who have been displaced and arrived in Wales following the Russian invasion.”

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