Break Free by Ukranian born artist Rina Alex.

Iryna Aleksienienko, or Rina Alex as she is called in New Zealand, is a Ukranian native and started painting during the last lockdown. She is raising funds for the people of her home country of Ukraine by donating 100 percent of the proceeds of her artwork sales. Her artwork is available at:

Rina was born in Ukraine but spent some of her adult life in France, studying International business and working for French companies and government for around five years.

She  started painting in October 2021. 

“During lockdown I got some paints. I watched a few YouTube videos on colour mixing and body part painting. However, painting birds comes naturally. I do check body proportions but the rest is intuitive. I paint every day for at least one hour. It has become my habit since October. In December I started to paint birds as decoration and I learned how to shape and sand wood. I use acrylics and recycled wood panels. I have created the whole range of birds that I sell on the market and in a few Waiheke shops, you can have a look at

“The first week the war in Ukraine began I took a week off to paint. It helped me to get through the strong shock and get my senses back. Generally, I paint because I have an idea in my mind of what I want to paint.

She says her work is my self-expression: “As I am not very good with my words. Painting has become my way to express what I feel when I cannot find the words. Every painting echoes an event in my life or a particular feeling. Painting gives me a lot of freedom and I usually feel joy when I paint. • Michelle Barber 

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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