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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

A Ukrainian village in... a Kyiv courtyard

Yulia Herasymovych, living at 11a Radunska Street, decided to beautify the courtyard and invited artists to do it
14 May, 2014 - 18:02

A few days ago, one of the many gray stairwells at a Troieshchyna apartment building was turned into a work of art. Its gray walls, ceilings, and stairs have been replaced with sky, clouds, white cottage, sunflowers and poppies. People take pictures of themselves against a background of paintings, and photos of the stairwell’s lightning-fast fabulous transformation have been spread on Facebook by thousands of users. The idea to bring beauty to the living space originated with Yulia Herasymovych, a tattoo artist and mother of two living at 11a Radunska Street. The woman decided to implement her idea immediately.

“I am tattoo artist, tasked with making people look beautiful... I do love all things beautiful and I believe that our children should live in beautiful and esthetically sound environment. In our difficult time, people who are tired of politics just need to see beauty and be distracted by positive things,” Herasymovych told us.

For starters, she found online artists whose work she liked. “I paid them for materials, including paints, brushes and more, bought a primer and a ladder myself. I explained them what I wanted to see on the walls. I would have gladly agreed to something original, but I realized that not all residents would like it, so we decided to paint something meaningful and close to everyone, both children and adults, something relevant and patriotic, especially in light of current events. I explained artists that I needed them to paint sunflowers, poppies, cottages, a stork, a flag, a coat of arms... We had different options to consider; in particular, some wanted to portray the Cossacks, but eventually we opted for a landscape,” the woman said.

From its beginning to the completion, the work took only four days. Herasymovych herself was actively involved in the work, painting the stairs, the trash bin and outlining parts of the landscape. This transformation of the gray and uninteresting stairwell into a wonderful work of art cost her 5,000 hryvnias.

“I did not mind this cost, for my children have to live surrounded by beauty. I did not think it would make such waves or that people would enjoy it so much that they would call me and ask how it was done. I hope this will be a positive development. For me, as a patriot, it was important to implement the idea. Some are looking to do something similar where they live. Not everyone can afford it, but the people’s desire to create beauty is there. I will be very happy if someone will take inspiration from my experience,” Herasymovych told us.

Maria Vitiaz resides in the same apartment building and was among those actively spreading online photos of the renovated stairwell. “Our courtyard is a special place more generally. It was 10 years old when we moved into this house, there was a vacant lot here then. Each year, residents plant a tree in the courtyard. There is a man with large family who has planted many trees, explaining that he plants a tree for each of his children,” Vitiaz told us. “Troieshchyna is no longer a lowlife-infested ghetto, it is being transformed into a middle-class district, housing people who earned their homes by fair work. They are active, thinking, and creative.”