‘Ukrainian people are going to fight to the end’: Ukrainian painter honors home country through art

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Russian invasion of Ukraine is taking a toll on many of the family members of Ukrainians who are forced to sit, watch, and hope for the best.

One local artist in Orange Park is using his paintbrush to educate people across the state about tensions in Ukraine.

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Sergei Orgunov turned his passion for art into a career when he moved to the United States 30 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine.

He’s known for beautiful wildlife paintings, landscapes and close attention to detail.

“Probably going to learn until the end of my day,” Orgunov said.

The talented painter is now learning to deal with something he didn’t expect – chaos and conflict in his home country.

Action News Jax’s Meghan Moriarty asked him, “When you heard the news of the invasion, what went through your mind?”

“It’s hard to believe. It’s hard to understand and even if you trying to predict what’s going to happen, probably it’s impossible to prepare yourself for this kind of reality,” Orgunov said.

The reality is that the place where Orgunov once called home is now under attack. He has many friends and family still living in the capital city.

“Ukrainian people are going to fight to the end,” Orgunov said.

This weekend, Orgunov is doing what he does every weekend, prepare for his latest art festival. It’s difficult to focus when he’s worried about the safety of his friends and family.

Moriarty asked Orgunov, “But you plan to show solidarity this weekend?”

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“My little flag. I’m going to take this flag to art festival and display this flag to show my support for Ukraine. But this is something very little I can do,” he said.

Sergei said he thinks all of this will translate into his artwork. He hopes he can send a message of support.

“I would like to paint something and my mind is working in so many different directions,” Orgunov said, “because this is history. This is history and unfortunately, it’s a very sad history for Ukraine.”