A UKRAINIAN artist who has made North Berwick home after fleeing her war-torn country is hoping to give something back to East Lothian by creating a stunning mural in a prominent High Street location.

Tetiana Hurn is from Zhmerynka, about 300km from Kyiv, and arrived in North Berwick with her eight-year-old son Nikolai in April.

She told the Courier about the instant connection she felt with the town and the great welcome she received.

She said: “I love it! I feel so connected with such a beautiful town and the very nice people that live here.

“I am very grateful to the local North Berwick community and East Lothian Council for such a warm welcome.”

Tetiana, 38, used to live in South Africa, where one of the projects she worked on – a lighthouse painted on a building – turned heads in Cape Town.

East Lothian Courier: The lighthouse artwork Tetiana was involved with in Cape Town

The lighthouse artwork Tetiana was involved with in Cape Town

She said: “My first impression of North Berwick was that I immediately felt the coastal vibe – it gave me memories of South Africa.”

Tetiana now wants to bring this artistic endeavour to North Berwick by displaying a large mural on the ‘lighthouse corner’ – the seating area on the corner of High Street and Quality Street – linking lighthouse imagery in a migratory tale that thanks the people of East Lothian for welcoming her.

She said: “The composition of the mural consists of two opposite forces: a call to move and a need to rest. Being on the move is represented in the middle of the composition by the sea and two lighthouses on the cliffs.

“One significant historical lighthouse on the African continent near the Cape of Good Hope is a mark of south. Another one is a Stevenson lighthouse on the Bass Rock representing north. To connect my country of origin and my new Scottish home, I called on St Andrew as a protector and placed a remarkable St Andrew Church in Kyiv to represent east and Old St Andrew Kirk is a brilliant historical representation of west.”

Tetiana’s mural also contains the image of a gannet, under a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson that speaks to the experience of travellers and refugees across the world. The temporary piece would be accented by thistles and sunflowers, connecting Scotland and Ukraine in a unifying and powerful image.

The proposed artwork would be mounted on wooden panels and would be roughly five by three metres in size.

'Symbolising Scotland's support for Ukraine'

Tetiana has been awarded a grant by North Berwick Trust to complete the mural and Olwyn Owen, trustee and chair of the grants group, said: “North Berwick Trust Ltd is delighted to have been able to support Tetiana Hurn’s grant application. Tetiana has designed a beautiful mural, symbolising Scotland’s support for Ukraine and the close links between the countries.

“The trust has awarded Tetiana £4,000 to paint and install her artwork, which we hope will be located at the corner between North Berwick’s High Street and Quality Street.”

Geraldine Prince, co-ordinator of pARTicipate, the group that operates the art installations at the disused telephone boxes on Westgate, described Tetiana as a “force of nature”, highlighting that the mural would give North Berwick the chance to become part of an “unforgettable cultural exchange”.

She said: “After an epic escape from Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion, Tetiana arrived with her young son Nikolai in this safe haven.

“Through artists’ networks, she already had some local contacts and, almost immediately, her host family took her to see the Ukrainian flag installation at the pARTicipate art phone boxes.

“She found this a moving and supportive gesture, forming a plan to ‘give back’ for the welcome she’d received from across the town.

“There are countless examples of the influence of refugees on what we think of as ‘modern art’; it’s no exaggeration to say that those fleeing persecution have transformed contemporary visual culture, and it testifies to North Berwick’s tolerance that a refugee artist has been able to make her mark here.

“The people of the town responded powerfully to the Ukrainian crisis; the mural records that their humanitarian efforts are recognised and valued. It’s an unexpected but unforgettable cultural exchange.”

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said: “We can confirm that we have received an email enquiry about this project and we will discuss it in further detail.”