VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Local artist Ira Cosmos surrounds herself in the beauty of her art, but her heart is in war-torn Ukraine.
Her niece and nephew sleep in an underground food storage area to stay safe and her brother and father have volunteered to fight in the war. Her brother, a construction worker by trade, is learning to use a gun for the first time in his life.
Cosmos came to San Diego in 2016 when unrest was already brewing in Eastern Ukraine. She has become a well-known artist in San Diego art circles - her expertise varies widely from airbrush painting to elaborate canvases. Before coming to the United States she volunteered painting camouflage vehicles for the military. She feels she can help her country more here, by selling her art. She paints with a purpose. All of the work she's doing now goes to helping aid Ukrainian children and soldiers who need the basics.
"I can't send money, they can't buy anything there. So I get a list of what the military needs and I buy the items like warm boots and underwear because it's cold there, it's winter. I then send them to volunteers in Poland who cross into Ukraine and get the supplies to the soldiers," said Cosmos.
She watches the news daily and calls her family twice a day to make sure they are okay. The scenes that she sees on TV are surreal.
"When you see blood on my streets, I can't explain how that feels," said Cosmos.
She feels it's her duty to her country and her homeland to paint as much as she can to make money for those who need it. One masterpiece she just completed will go to auction at the Latino Film Festival this week.
"The wheat represents the crop of our country, the wildflowers and poppies are signs of Ukraine and the birds are symbolic to peace and the end to war," said Cosmos.
And while she doesn't understand the politics of this war, she knows this. "I think Ukraine will win because God is on our side. Ukranians don't give up it is in our blood to protect. We are already winning because we don't give up," said Cosmos.
Her work can be seen here.