24 May 2022

Amazing Ukraine artist begins huge mural for Laois Tidy Towns group

Amazing Ukraine artist begins huge mural for Laois Tidy Towns group

A mural completed in Ukraine by Yana Koretska

Portlaoise is about to get a stunning huge piece of street art, thanks to a young talented Ukrainian artist.

Yana Koretska, 27, who has a Masters in Monumental Painting as well as a BA in Fine Art, has begun a 10 metre long artwork on the walkway into the People's Park.

Yana fled from Ukraine due to the Russian invasion, and is now staying with relatives in Portlaoise.

Below: Yana's work back in Ukraine.

She has been commissioned by Portlaoise Tidy Towns who were eager to support and integrate the new Ukrainian refugee community.

Vincent Booth is a member of Portlaoise Tidy Towns.

"We found out about Yana's work through Laois Integration Network, and when we saw some of her work, we realised it was absolutely amazing. 

"We have chosen a biodiversity theme featuring native flora and fauna, so it will be both nice to look at and educational. It will follow the Triogue Blueway walk from James Fintan Lalor side," Vincent said.

Yana began her painting on May 3 and it is expected to take four weeks to complete but she is flying along.

She talked to the Leinster Express.

"I really like this theme, It was Alison's proposal to paint for children to learn about nature. It has good energy. It says something about life," she said.

She was living in central Ukraine in Kremenchuk city with her mother and stepfather who are still there working.

"It was not easy for me to decide to go. It is not as dangerous as Eastern Ukraine, the Russians only bombed a factory in our city. They shot nine rockets on Easter. All the city is without water because they bombed the water station, but they did not bomb houses yet.

"I was invited here by a childhood friend of my mothers who lives in Fairgreen. People here are really kind, they help me and support me a lot. I am really thankful to the Irish people for their good attitude and solidarity. I worry for my family but they have my Grandma close in a village where it is safer than the city. When the war started, there are not so loud air alarms there. In the city they go off five or six times and day and it was really freaking me out. There is nowhere to hide, we were lucky in the village. 

"I am trying to keep doing something like sport and art. It is really hard to believe this has happened. I really pray for Ukraine to win. I know they will because I know Russia is weaker at this point. I pray for the power of my folk," she said.

She loves Portlaoise.

"It is very beautiful, very quiet, there is a good energy as there is in all of Ireland. I like the Irish architecture, I feel like it is something out of a fairytale. It is simple and very beautiful with many trees and gardens," she said.

"She is doing a great job. This is what Tidy Towns is all about. Being inclusive in the community. We are delighted we could get someone from Ukraine who can put their take on it and feel part of the community," Vincent said.

A time lapse recording will be presented of the mural when it is complete. Yana will be reimbursed for her time by the group. 

See Yana's online portfolio of work here

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