The Büsi Paris became known throughout Switzerland in March as the first refugee cat from the Ukraine. Owner Oleksandra Erastova (34) arrived in Switzerland with art and cat at the beginning of March, and now she has the first vernissage thanks to her Persian cat.
The reports in Blick and SonntagsBlick drew attention to the artist at the Aare Gallery in Winznau SO. “Your pictures are a mixture of reality and fantasy and we were immediately enthusiastic,” says Urs Voser, manager of the gallery. “That’s why we want to give the artist a helping hand so that she can continue to pursue her work and earn something with it.” That’s why the gallery is making the premises available to you free of charge from May 14th to 29th and waives a commission.
Escaped with art and cat
In her homeland, Erastova had established herself as a painter. After training as a graphic designer, she took the risky step into art, and her works now hang in many parts of the world, from China, Europe and overseas. Some of her paintings are exhibited in the Museum of History in Kyiv. “I had to leave my studio behind, but I got my works to safety in time.” In anticipation of the war, she drove to the Ukrainian border in her packed small car with her mother, her cat and rolls of paintings two weeks before the outbreak.
At that time she didn’t know that she would end up in Switzerland: “I hardly dared to dream of it, it’s the safest and most beautiful country in Europe. I listened to my heart.” Just like she does with her art. Her pictures show a metamorphosis from human to animal and vice versa. This creates a Marilyn Monroe with a cat face, or a bulldog becomes the movie villain Joker. «Animals reflect our human emotions, my pictures show how close we are to each other.»
For Swiss families: Antonina (42) and Maxim (4) now live in Riehen BS(04:07)
Proceeds to animal shelters in Ukraine
After she lived with her mother in the asylum center for a month and her cat Paris was housed in the animal shelter run by the Zurich animal welfare organization, mother and daughter found a temporary home in Basel – with a garden. There Erastova paints on her new pictures with flowers. And Paris the cat is also being sketched. “Not all pets from Ukraine are as lucky as her,” says Erastova. Many four-legged friends were left behind in the war. That’s why the artist wants to donate half of her earnings to Ukrainian animal shelters.
The first refugee cat in Switzerland