Nomas* Projects / Art, Dundee

Apr, 2024

They Will Live With Us in Flowers

Artist's Statement

For The Second Anniversary of the Ten Years' War, which has been ongoing for over four hundred years.

... Flowers always bring me hope and love. Even at funerals, in many cultures, we bring flowers to express gratitude for the lives of the people we love but have sadly lost. In March, I lost a very dear friend, for whom I am incredibly grateful for making the UK feel like home to me. Ann Barbara Brenells will always be like a beautiful flower in my memory, setting a shining example of generosity and hospitality for countless Ukrainians.

Memories of all the wonderful people we are losing make me think about a song from the 1970s — "A Ballad about Mallows," a song by my favourite Ukrainian composer Volodymyr Ivasyuk based on a poem by Bohdan Guri. It tells the story of a young man who died in war, and his soul has sprouted as a beautiful mallow under his mother's window. The song describes a mother's longing for her children — while other mothers have children playing in the garden, all she has are these flowers. Decades have passed, but there are still more and more mothers who have remained only with flowers:

…Oh mama darling, don't you wait for me Don't hope in vain for another sight of me A lush red mallow has grown from my own heart Petals crimson with blood… Listen to the Song

In March, it could have been the author's 75th birthday. Volodymyr Ivasyuk faced difficulties and suppression from Soviet authorities due to his outspokenness and the patriotic themes in his music. His songs, which contained elements of Ukrainian national identity and aspirations for independence, were considered threatening to the Soviet regime's control over Ukrainian culture. In 1979, at the young age of 29, Ivasyuk's life was cut short under suspicious circumstances.

Even our life and being on this Earth are so fragile — the seeds of our actions remain. The love we plant with our little day-to-day actions can always mean something life-changing for the people around us. Let's cherish the memory of those who remain living with us in flowers.

In loving memory of Ann Barbara Brenells

Artist's Bio

Alina Potemska — visual artist and illustrator, lecturer in games art, game designer, and activist.

In her illustration, she usually captures daily scenes through fast sketches and digital drawings. After a full-scale invasion of her home country, she focused on illustration as a tool to share stories from her homeland.

Alina was born in Kyiv, Ukraine. She obtained degrees in Graphic Art (BA), Illustration (MA), Cultural and Social Pedagogy (MEd), and in the Fine Art Academy in Warsaw — in Game Design (PhD). Her doctoral research on cognition in games is based on a case study of "Exodus: a board game," which she designed. Her research explores the history of game development, game studies and methods for integrating narrative art into learning through games.

Since 2008 she has exhibited both solos and in group shows in many countries including the UK, USA, Germany, France, Poland, and Ukraine, introducing her illustrations and game designs.

Lives and works in London.

Artist's Website


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