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American interior designer fears for the safety of Ukrainian art dealer she works with

Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 10:44 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 13:18:10-05

An art dealer in Ukraine, who supplies an American interior designer, is caught in a major conflict.

After getting the latest shipment from her art dealer, Pavlo, Tennessee interior designer Stephanie Sabbe realized the original paintings came from Kyiv, Ukraine.

"And then I got online and was like where are you? Sabbe said, "Are you alive? And it took him two days to reply, and it just gets you thinking of how life can change. He’s just an art dealer, now he wrote that he’s literally running for his life, so it’s awful. I’m going to make myself cry."

The soviet art she selected is hanging in the homes she helped design across the country.

"I just think it’s really neat that this art painting in the 70s from Ukraine has been transformed into meaningful pieces for all these clients, and now they’re going to have this other layer of meaning behind them," Sabbe said.

She hopes artists will find a way to survive, and that their work won't be destroyed.

"It's just beautiful work, and I’m not big on knowing everything about pieces of art because I do a lot of honestly like flea marketing and dumpster diving for things like that, but obviously this is gorgeous,” Sabbe said. “He’s been such a good resource for us the past few years, so it just breaks my heart that someone we worked with is having to live through what they are."

Sabbe's work relationship with Pavlo is now a friendship. A silver lining to the war that's brought so much destruction.

"It makes all of it seem more personal, it was a war between two people that had no relation to me, and now it does,” Sabbe said. “It makes the whole thing seem more like, why can’t someone push stop on this?"

If you want to help Ukrainian artists like Pavlo on the Etsy app, go to the search bar and type 'digital file.' Then, go to filters and change location to Ukraine. It's an easy way to send money to artists directly since their livelihood has been impacted.

This story was originally published by Alexandra Koehn of WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee.