GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Artists from all over the world will soon come to ArtPrize for the next few weeks.
One artist 13 ON YOUR SIDE met has a message for those who will view her painting, which is to "find peace within yourself."
Oleksandra Petrovska was born in Odessa, Ukraine and lived there for 41 years of her life before the war forced her and her family to leave.
"It was very scary time for me for my family," said Petrovska. "When war started, it was a very scary day, which I didn't forget. And it's just starting bombing in my beautiful town."
After being forced out of her home, Petrovska says she uses art to promote peace.
"I think we don't need to fight, we don't need to fight because if we will all be fighting. It's the it's the road to the end. It's the road to the end without future," said Petrovska. "And I think that we forgot that we are fighting every day for nothing, you know, for nothing."
She has submitted work for ArtPrize once before.
"I was apart of Artprize in nine years ago, go but I didn't get visa from Ukraine. … And it's it was the artwork that's called inside equals outside. It's still about being peaceful," said Petrovska.
The piece she submitted in this year's Artprize took a few months to complete.
Petrovska says her son is a big reason for making the move to the United States.
"If I didn't have my boy.., I, I wouldn't go from my beautiful town…, for sure. But for him, it's not safe at that place... I have a lot of friends. Parents who are still in my country, who still live in Odessa. And every day or I check the news every day, I check how it is. It's, it's not easy," said Petrovska.
And if there was one thing Petrovska hopes people will understand from her work- it's that all you need to be happy is.. "We just need sunshine, to eat food, and family and friends."
Petrovska says more paintings are in her future as well as the possibility of beginning to write a book.
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