Breaking News
More () »

Ukrainian artist impresses San Diegans with paintings

A Ukrainian painter and her daughter have been living in the Kensington neighborhood with a San Diegan who opened her doors for Ukrainian refugees.

SAN DIEGO — As dozens of Ukrainian refugees search for shelter, one Ukrainian and her daughter found refuge with a San Diegan.

With a paintbrush in one hand, mixing the paint colors and drawing those dimensional curves with every brushstroke—is what you would find Vira Ustianska doing on any given day.

Seeing her embrace her biggest talent and passion, you wouldn't think Ustianska would have any worries tormenting her.

"Sometimes I think about paintings, sometimes I think about problems, sometimes I feel something, and I can't stop it," said Ustianska.

However, even when painting, Ustianska could not escape the past several months that have now become her life.

Ustianska and her 9-year-old daughter fled Ukraine, desperately seeking asylum because of the war. 

"It's scary you are getting attacked," said Ustianska. 

The path to get there wasn't easy, like most migrants hoping for a better life in the United States.

Ustianska had to navigate a language barrier, housing struggles, unemployment, and the trauma of leaving her family behind.

Most refugees living in San Diego still struggle with a lack of resources–stemming from their current immigration status. 

"I have a daughter; she needs to leave; she needs to be alive," said Ustianska. 

Ustianska says a local San Diegan helped the family with shelter despite the struggles.

Connie Terwilliger left her guest room open for refugees in need.

Terwilliger hoped the family would find long-term housing. 

Immigration lawyers were requested for the family to help alleviate lengthy paperwork.

WATCH RELATED: From a billboard to boots on the ground, new efforts to help support Ukraine


Before You Leave, Check This Out