Iryna Lyashenko is an artist and designer and, by education, an artist of decorative arts from Ukraine.
Lyashenko had this to say:
“I was born, lived and worked in the city of Kherson, Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, Russia’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine began. At the very beginning of the war, the Russian army entered Kherson. I spent almost three months in the occupied city, where life became more difficult and dangerous every day.
In May 2022, I decided to run away. And the life of a military refugee began. My infinite gratitude to the Villa Lena Art Foundation, the Iris Toscana Foundation, and the international organisation Artists at Risk. I am grateful for the shelter and support. The residency provides conditions for a safe life, creative work, and new acquaintances with creative professionals from different parts of the world. During the 2022 season at Villa Lena, I had the lucky opportunity to immerse myself in floral design by working together on projects and learning from masters like Stuart Fenwick, Siri Thorson and Sophia Moreno-Bunge. Floristry is a completely new direction for me. In the future, I hope for personal development in this field.
In late autumn and winter, life at the Villa slows down. But on December 6, 2022, the Villa Lena Foundation, with the assistance of Iris Toscana, held an exhibition of graphic works by Ukrainian artist-refugees who received shelter in the residence. Tetiana Kugai, Yulia Baluda, Oleksiy Vladimirov and I united our creative works at the joint exhibition “Flowering Heads”, which took place in Florence.”