Nelli Isupov, "Fish" - a ceramic fish sculpture with a human face, feet in red shoes, and seven bird heads sticking out the top

Sergei Isupov and family featured in The World

This radio segment explores how Sergei Isupov and his family use their unique forms of art to express the current war’s affects on each of them.

“Sergei’s parents, Nelli and Vladimir, met in art school in the port city of Odesa in the late 1950s, during the Soviet period. They later settled in Kyiv to raise their two sons, Sergei and Ilya. And they basically insisted that their sons become artists, too.
Sergei’s mother, Nelli, and brother, Ilya, still live in Kyiv. And Sergei talks to them all the time. ‘Sometimes [when] I talk to my mom, I hear sirens in the back,’ Sergei said.”

Nelli Isupov, "Fish" - a ceramic fish sculpture with a human face, feet in red shoes, and seven bird heads sticking out the top

More on Sergei Isupov’s family, in Sergei’s own words

Excerpts below recently published in The Craft Quarterly from the James Renwick Alliance.
Read the full article HERE.

Nelli Isupova

“My mother Nelli can find something positive in everything that happens around her. Now because of the war, those with cars have left and she says she kind of appreciates that there are fewer cars and people in the city. She lives in the very center of Kyiv and still she goes for walks in the parks. She refuses to go to the bomb shelter even when the air raid sirens howl. During World War II, when she was three years old, she and her mother were evacuated via ship from Stavropol. Their ship was bombed while they were in the Caspian Sea but luckily they both survived.

My whole life my mother has been a working artist. Now, at age 83, she still works hard at her painting and exhibits her work a lot. She says that “people now need to see bright colors.” In March of last year, she had an exhibition at Sofia Kyivska. She went there every day and posted selfies with the visitors on her instagram feed–it looks so normal, and she looks very happy in her ceramic “garden of joy.” Then in July, she had an exhibition at the Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko National Museum of Art. That museum, housed in a beautiful 19th c. mansion, was severely damaged in a nearby Russian strike on October 10 and it’s feared that many parts of their extensive permanent collection may have been damage (editor’s note: Nelli removed her works from the gallery just a week before the bombing). – Sergei Isupov

Learn more about Nelli and her artwork HERE.

Follow Nelli on Instagram HERE.

KYIV, UKRAINE - AUGUST 17, 2022 - The Kyiv Art Gallery National Museum displays the Illuminated Space exhibition of ceramic sculpture by the artist Nelly Isupova, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine. Illuminating Space exhibition by artist Nelli Isupova in Kyiv PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxRUS Copyright: xHennadiixMinchenkox

Illuminating Space
exhibition by Nelli Isupova
The Kyiv Art Gallery National Museum
Kyiv, Ukraine
August 17, 2022

Ilya Isupov

“My brother is also an artist. He evacuated two of his children from the city to a seemingly safe place. His other two children are older and were already in school or working outside of the country. But pretty quickly the war came right to the village where he had evacuated his children. Even with the bombing, he still managed to save them and get them out by making his way through roadblocks and along forest paths. He and his wife took them to the Polish border. The children and their mother have remained exiled in France. According to what we hear it is not easy for them, just as for any refugee.

My brother returned home to Kyiv where his pet was waiting for him. Soon he learned that a bomb had hit the house in the village where his children had been staying. The relative who had taken in his children was buried under the rubble of a fallen wall, but she survived. The children are physically safe, they were taken away in the nick of time.

My brother had a job in the advertising industry, but it is gone now so he works from home; his paintings are full of dramatic unreality. They are beautiful and not intimidating but these paintings are reminiscent of the events happening all around him. It may be obvious for those who know what he’s going through. The paintings do not sell now. Friends who can are helping him survive. He recently exhibited in Paris at a group exhibition with Ukrainian artists and for that he received permission to leave Ukraine for two weeks. He is 51 years old.” – Sergei Isupov

Learn more about Ilya Isupov and is artwork HERE.

Follow Ilya on Facebook HERE.

View a catalogue of additional artworks HERE.

Ilya Isupov, "Car", 2022, watercolor on paper
Ilya Isupov, "Car", 2022, watercolor on paper