Atomic Pulse

#CranesForOurFuture: Ukrainian Artist Eugenia Zoloto on Finding Hope during War

Eugenia Zoloto

Ukranian artist

Eugenia Zoloto is a Ukrainian artist who specializes in paper cutting, collages, and illustrations, in addition to working with oil paints and mixed mediums. She lives in Kyiv with her husband and two children and is participating in the 2023 #CranesForOurFuture campaign by contributing a beautiful floral sculpture featuring an origami crane.

We’re thrilled to use your art for our #CranesForOurFuture campaign! Why did you want to collaborate with NTI on this project?

When NTI sent me the proposal of commissioning an art piece for the Cranes campaign, I immediately agreed. For us in Ukraine, nuclear issues have been pertinent due to the war in Ukraine, constant threats about the use of nuclear weapons, and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant being under occupation and under shelling. Also, I was born three years after the Chernobyl catastrophe happened. Like many in my country, I experienced the consequences of the disaster.

Can you share a little about yourself and your work as an artist?

I am a self-taught artist who has been working with paper cutting and paper collages for more than nine years. I am inspired by the inner world of people and nature that influence much of our lives. Flowers, insects, and delicate laces live in my work.

Your artwork is so beautifully and intricately crafted. What inspired you to make cut paper art specifically?

I used to primarily paint with oil until one day I came across paper art on the Internet and decided to try it. Since then, I have not stopped paper cutting and have tried different techniques to perfect my craft. Paper art was like love at first sight.

How has the war in Ukraine impacted you, your family, and your art?

I like the positive side of art and how it can bring hope to people, but since the war started, I couldn’t ignore the serious and hard themes. During the initial months of the war, I couldn’t create. My family hid in the small village near Kyiv and all I thought about was how to keep us safe and where to find food. It was really scary. When Ukraine was able to defend itself and drive the troops of the enemy from Kyiv, we returned home, and I tried to do art again—it was my escape from despair and depression.

Throughout the war, there have been threats of nuclear use. What is that like for someone living in Ukraine? Could you have ever imagined this would happen?

As I mentioned before, Chernobyl was an unbelievable and traumatic experience for the Ukrainian people who never thought such an event would happen again. To cope with the disaster and the fear that the recent nuclear threats evoke, we use humor. I remember a time when my family heard the news of a nuclear threat in Ukraine. My husband went to the pharmacy for iodine pills, which can prevent thyroid cancer from radiation exposure, but I sought out bath salt. Our friends said that bath salt was the most rational purchase.

With everything you have experienced in the past 18 months, do you think a peaceful world is possible?

To be honest, I don’t know what to say. A lot of conflicting thoughts have circulated my mind since the war began – from pessimistic to more hopeful. While achieving a completely peaceful world may be challenging, it is not impossible. It may be difficult to eliminate all forms of conflict and achieve a utopian state of absolute peace, but striving for a more peaceful world is a worthy goal.

What type of world do you hope your children can live in? What role will nuclear weapons have in that world?

Like many people, I hope for a future where my children can live in a safe, peaceful, and prosperous environment. Such a world would prioritize the well-being of individuals, promote equality, protect human rights, foster sustainable development, and value global cooperation.

Regarding the role of nuclear weapons, many individuals and organizations advocate for their complete elimination. And I completely agree with them. Nuclear weapons pose significant risks due to their destructive power and the potential for catastrophic consequences. Their use could result in immense loss of life and environmental devastation.

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