An exhibition featuring Ukrainian children's drawings of pets left behind opened at the Riigikogu this week. While adults thought this might be a sensitive subject, children found the experience therapeutic.
Anatoli Ljutjuk, head of the Ukrainian Cultural Center, had the idea for the exhibition when he heard children telling stories about their animals that had stayed in Ukraine due to Russia's full-scale invasion.
The exhibition "Tallinn's Ark – Drawings and Toys by Ukrainian Refugee Children" includes drawings and paintings of fish, cats, dogs, and other animals.
The children who participated are from across Ukraine and the artwork shows their memories in different ways. For example, one child drew a cat, which at first glance, looks as though it is surrounded by falling snow.
"And then Anatoly asked, oh, that's such a good cat, but has it been caught in a snowstorm? What happened to him? The child replied, and two of his other friends, said it wasn't snow, it was phosphorus bombs falling. It is known, they can not be extinguished and the children were very scared about it," said translator Katja Novak.
Many of the children still have family members in Ukraine, including in Russian-occupied territories. Adults, who supervised the drawings, said they thought the task would be daunting, but but it was met with enthusiasm.
"We were expecting them to maybe cry, maybe get annoyed, but that's the adult way of thinking, the kids were so excited and happy to tell each other these stories," said Novak.
The exhibition is staged in the Conference Hall of the Riigikogu until February 22.
It was opened by head of the Estonian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Liisa Pakosta (Eesti 200) and the Ambassador of Ukraine to Estonia Maksym Kononenko on Thursday.
Editor: Helen Wright