Ukrainian war: Preston artist Karina Azlanova speaks of her survivor's guilt and praises city community for all their support

A woman from Ukraine who now resides in Preston has spoken of her survivor's guilt and praised the local community for their kindness.

By Emma Downey
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 3:45 pm

Artist Karina Azlanova, 32, who has lived in Preston for the past four years says she is both "sad and so angry" with what is happening in her home country.

"Every day I’m calling my dad who’s in Kyiv, terrified that he won’t pick up this time. I'm in touch with my dad multiple times a day.

"He's staying there for now, doing what he can, driving people to the railway station as well as being in a civil territorial defense group, but luckily my district has been relatively safe thus far.

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Ukrainian Karina Azlanova has spoken of her "survivor's guilt"

"My dad's brother is also in the group and is helping guard a tank factory. Some friends have got out of Ukraine, some have gone further west, some staying in Kyiv and trying to provide help using their professional skills to the army and civilians.

"I'm lucky to be away and safe so there is some survivor's guilt right now.

"I don't like pity, it's a useless activity, but I appreciate productive compassion.

"It's amazing how people around Preston and how the world have reacted, understanding that we are all from planet Earth - we breathe the same oxygen and look at the same sky."

Artist Karina Azlanova held a portrait session in Avenham Park in Preston last Saturday to help raise funds for the Ukrainian community

To try and help raise funds for the people of Ukraine, she held a portrait exhibition in Avenham Park last Saturday.

Channelling the message of unity and empathy through her art Karina took portraits of people and in exchange they were asked to donate whatever they could direct to charities in Ukraine.

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She added: "It went well, I got a lot of great shots. I had a lot of people both on Saturday and Sunday. Even people who didn't want their photographs taken still took the info paper and were happy to contribute to Ukraine appeal.

Karina speaks to her father who is still in worn torn Ukraine every day

"I had quite an artistic family so I'm not sure how early the art spark happened, but since high school I've been making little video art films, then I went to uni and studied theatre directing and acting, through theatre and film I ended up with photography from there and have been doing it since, both professionally self employed and as my own artist outlet.

"We were handing out info sheets with Ukrainian organisations ukrainewar.carrd.co, a drop off point in Fulwood for supplies and some info about hosting refugees. If at least one of those people donated after meeting me that wouldn't have otherwise then it was 100 percent worthwhile.

"I will be catching up with those who couldn't make it on the weekend, I may do more photo sessions around Preston, or something similar, but nothing for certain yet.

"I'd just advise everyone to keep an eye out on my Instagram @azlanova for updates. For now I will be concentrating on the badges I am making and selling online, all proceeds go to support the Ukrainian army and other charities and organisations.

"I'm tough, I'm Ukrainian, that's my super power."

Anyone who wishes to donate to one of the organisations listed on the website can CLICK HERE.

To view Karina’s portfolio CLICK HERE.

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