Tania Kremen, Anna Sarvira, Sasha Anisimova: Drawing Life in Ukraine

Ukrainian cartoonists, who remained there, document their daily life in wartime. With poetry, they capture snapshots of life, tasting as little as they can small elemental pleasures, a ray of sunshine, a coffee, a short walk.

“I live in a small house on the left bank of Kyiv. Before the war, I had five resident cats and a little Jack Russell. Today, thirteen cats and three dogs live there. Many of my neighbors lived in the city or in the inner suburbs. “They left everything for me. They entrusted their animals to me. Some will return home after the war. Others will be homeless, but I will find them a home when it’s all over.”

In the early days, some of my friends came to live here – I think I have a gift for calming the anguish that petrifies us a little – eight adults and three children, but since then many of them have left and we stay here at three. ”

© Tania Kremen

companions in adversity

Fashion Editor for Esquire Ukraine and designer Tania Kremen (43, @ tani.flint) had just finished a film as a costume designer and was putting the finishing touches on the boards of a cartoon that was to be premiere in the coming weeks. A humorous painting about the world of fashion that already had its title: Sorry, I’m a stylist! Every day, on Insta and Facebook, he now draws his four-legged students, a strange gallery of peers in adversity.

“I knew from day one that I would stay here. I wanted to be useful, to participate in the defense of our city. I was doing it my way, writing, helping foreign journalists at the time, but after two weeks I said to myself, ‘Wait, we don’t know how long this will last. It can go on like this for a long time. Well, it’s war, but we’re alive. The best thing I can do is live this life here in Kyiv as normally as possible.

I get up early, go for a walk, and go home to draw. I stop worrying. I try not to stress.“Tania Kremen
© Tania Kremen

This is what I do. I get up early, go for a walk with the dogs, feed the army of cats, and go home to draw. I stop worrying. I try not to stress. Sometimes I go to town to see friends. A few stores have reopened, so we’re moving on. We are not allowed to buy alcohol, but I am lucky that my friend’s father makes his own wine! ”

In this nightmare, the brave Tatiana even manages to maintain her sense of humor. So when an ad came out to women who wanted to leave the country for the first few weeks, she, she says, laughed to herself as she read the alert: ”Women 12 to 40 years old, be careful! Sex slavery networks benefit from chaos. “” I thought, well, I’m 43, I’m not on target anymore.

“In all the war stories, people talk about how lucky they were. I hope I will. That we will all have it ”. Anna Sarvira
© Tania Kremen

Anna Sarvira (@ anna.sarvira) also lives in Kyiv. Designer and curator, she illustrated her daily life in wartime for New York Moma with “this inability to project towards the future ”. In brightly colored cartridges, formerly cheerful, now darker, he reviews the reactions he might have had yesterday if he had been asked how he would feel in the wartime shock.

He concludes with a black cartouche: “In all the war stories, people talk about how lucky they were. I hope I will. That we will all have it ”. Acting through their art, these young women understood that it was the best, once they overcame the frustration of not feeling active enough.

Poetry as a bulwark against horror

Sasha Anisimova (@sasanisimova) has always lived in Kharkiv. She, of course, also chose poetry as a bulwark against horror. He takes pictures of the ruined buildings around him and redraws the silhouettes of anonymous people with a line of white pencil.

One day, he redraws the inhabitants of an abandoned block of flats. Another, those refugees on a subway train transformed into a shelter. Again, her own silhouette and that of her labrador on the wall of a monument as she visits her sister, her husband, and her nephew. “I love my sister too, she writes more than anything and I want to go back to drinking wine and watching stupid shows. “

On March 18, his birthday, he posted a photo of two buildings with facades destroyed by gunfire and drew with his white line added to the graphic palette, sitting on the terrace of the Gorcafe with his dog. And these few lines: “Hello, my name is Sasha and today I am 30 years old. Earlier I would have said to myself that I would like a car, a house of my own, a trip, a fashionable thing to buy, but now I want to walk with my dog ​​in my beloved Kharkiv, drink coffee and not read news of war ”. To raise funds, Sasha managed to print a few t-shirts with one of her screen-printed photos she sells on Insta (@ klaptyk.ua). Life before and life after, obviously, have nothing to do.

“You’re drinking coffee and suddenly you hear explosions. We think that’s a good sign, our army is defending itself. Tania Kremen

Impossible to read, for example, difficult to concentrate, says Tania, the first of our interlocutors. Drawing is still the best option. “The morning is generally more lenient. Attacks usually take place around 4pm and later in the day the nights are tense. So I got into the habit of watching comedies. We are interrupted from time to time by explosions. But here life goes on. We are not in hell like Mariupol.

I was even able to have a coffee and a croissant at a place run by a Frenchman. You sit with a few other people, almost as usual, and you drink coffee, and suddenly the sirens sound and you hear explosions. We think that’s a good sign, our army is defending itself. It’s pretty unheard of. We’re there, no one is moving or reacting, we’re still having our coffee, and I notice thinking ‘wow, like in an old war movie’.

Leave a Comment