Art appreciation

Ukrainian children use art to detail war trauma: ‘They don’t know what’s going on’

When Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced the Bykovetz family to flee Kyiv in February, 6-year-old Sonya took whatever toys she could carry. What she left behind, she remembers through drawings: on a sheet of paper is a colorful picture of her cat.

The United Nations reports that 90% of the nearly 5 million people who have fled Ukraine are women and children.

To help Sonya cope with the trauma, her parents publish her works online and created the site, AU Children. They also collect drawings from other Ukrainian children and publish them online.

“We know that children want to have an appreciation… to feel them like [they are] not alone but part of a larger community,” Artem and Anastasiia Bykovets told CBS News’ Roxana Saberi.

The drawings are from children aged 5 and up. Each child uses a picture to tell a story. Some images show soldiers, bombs and death.

“Maybe it’s very difficult for them to talk about it. They don’t know what’s going on,” Artem said.

Artem and Nastya left their home but decided to stay in Ukraine, seeking safety in different cities. They said they believe encouraging children to draw can also help parents like them.

“Sending them to sit somewhere and ignite their fantasy and put it on paper also gives parents the opportunity to recharge the battery,” Artem said.

“We hope that people looking at these photos will feel compassion to support children, to support Ukraine,” Anastasiia said.