Aussie artists launch global movement to help Ukraine
A group of Australian artists have banded together to help Ukrainian refugees through a global art auction.
For one artist, the cause hits close to home.
Olena Vigovska, who immigrated to Australia 26 years ago, has witnessed the devastation facing her home country from afar as the war has unfolded.
Her brother, reserve officer Andrei Vigovsky, has been fighting for his country in the city of Kharkiv since the war began, spending each night taking shelter in a subway station underground.
For Olena, she wanted to find a way to help those facing brutality at the hands of the Russian invasion.
"It's a feeling like, 'What are you going to do?'" she told ABC’s 7.30.
"It's unbelievable. I'm still pinching myself every morning."
In the second week of the war, Olena and three other Ukrainian Australian artists began putting together an auction to raise money for refugees in their home country.
"We jumped on that project with pleasure," she said.
"I feel much better now. I can use my skills to raise money and show the world how art can be so important and helpful in wartime."
The proceeds from the auction will go to Habitat for Humanity, who help house refugees and give them a second chance at life without the threat of danger.
"It will be a lot of work to rebuild Ukraine," she said.
"It's just awful to see. I hope we will be able to make a difference."
The project's organiser, Tetiana Koldunenko, told the current affairs program that the stress of the war had taken a huge toll on her and her family: many of whom live in Ukraine.
She said focusing her energy on creating art for the auction revived her and gave her some hope for the future.
"I'm absolutely sure that Ukraine will be beautiful. It will have a beautiful future."
Image credits: ABC News - 7.30 footage