Tetyana / Тетяна 

I visited Tetyana at her home in January 2023. She was dressed in a 100-year-old traditional Ukrainian outfit.

“We moved to the US in June 2019 for my husband’s job. We planned to stay here for 3-6 years. I’m a stay at home mom because I didn’t have work permit until now.

In Ukraine, I studied clinical psychology, and I have experience with child psychology working with kindergarteners back in my country.

I hope I can use my knowledge to provide help for the people of Ukraine who fled the war.”

Tetyana started painting while in the US, before the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia. She was taking classes via zoom with a Ukrainian teacher living in Ukraine, learning to use traditional Ukrainian elements and style in her paintings.

“The meaning of this painting is that the sunflower always turns to the sun. Even if they destroy us, we are always like a seed, we’ll keep growing again.

You know, if you are so far away from your home, it’s like you miss it and painting helps to stay connected to the motherland and preserve the culture.”

Wheat is a staple crop in Ukraine and symbolizes hopes for a good harvest and good health as a source of life.

The National Ukrainian emblem В О Л Я (VOLYA) which means Freedom - the national idea and path.

The Ukrainain postage stamp — called "Russian warship, go f*** yourself!" — recognizes the famous battle on Snake Island against the Russian invasion.

“I feel guilty not to be in Ukraine. I really want to be there right now, to fight, to help, to cook, to do what they do, but I feel a responsibility for my kids. The rest of my family is still in Ukraine.

I feel I am in between, living a parallel reality. I wake up and go to bed with the news from Ukraine, then I go to school with the kids where I smile to other parents.


Sometimes I feel I am annoying others when I am talking about the war and all the horrors of it. Some people can’t even imagine it could be a reality. That’s very heartbreaking because can you imagine having September 11th terrorist attack and not talking about it? But I have this in my country every single day, or even worse, and I want and should be able to talk about it, I want people to know about it.


A way to support our country is to inform people abroad about what is happening, the war is not done.

I’m helping raise money, buying and sending medical supplies to Ukraine, where they are the most needed. I’m on an advisory board for the Ukrainian Foundation nonprofit here in Oregon. We are organizing events, trying to bring attention, and showing more of the Ukrainian culture.


Rushnik-  Handmade wedding textile made by Tetyana when she was 19

Tetyana with a bandura, a Ukrainian traditional instrument.

“I never played Bandura in Ukraine, but I’ve always heard it. My neighbor, a child at time, was always playing it.

The Ukrainian folk music is one of the richest heritages in the world.”

“I and my husband want to go back to Ukraine one day, but we have mixed feelings. Our kids started settling here, have their own life and friends. Also, I understand that to rebuild schools and universities, which Russians destroyed in Ukraine, could take decades and life is so short. 

I hope, at least, to be able to visit Ukraine once a year. Maybe my parents could visit us here. The US is a very beautiful and diverse country, I wish to travel as much as possible here.”