BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Binghamton’s premiere light projection festival, LUMA, is adding a renowned Ukrainian artist to this year’s event.

Julia Shamsheieva, a resident of Odessa, Ukraine, will present a LUMA projection titled “4U” at this year’s festival. According to Shamsheieva, the projection will celebrate the strength of the country and international unity following Russia’s invasion and the ongoing war.

Shamsheieva is currently creating this piece from war-torn Ukraine. On February 24th she awoke to the sound of explosions as Russian airstrikes began reigning down on her native city, Odessa. Odessa is a city on the nation’s Black Sea Coast and has been a major center of events throughout the last 5 months of war. Shamsheieva has watched her country, hometown, and entire way of life be flipped completely upside down by the on-going conflict.

She began her career in corporate advertising but soon found interest in more experimental forms of design and discovered her talent for light projection. Shamsheieva’s work has been featured at festivals worldwide and she has won several accolades and awards throughout her career.

According to LUMA festival organizers, her work often features vibrant, playful, and dream-like imagery as well as narratives infused with joy and positivity toward the human experience.

While working from an active combat zone and despite the dangers she now has to endure, she believes in the importance of her work to spread hope and unity to an international community that’s been grappling with years of challenge.

“What is happening in my country is terrible, but what’s even more terrifying is that it’s just one of several other major crises happening globally. I really want humanity to evolve not only technically, but also spiritually. In my opinion, the crisis in Ukraine spurred an unprecedented level of unification and we cannot lose that momentum. The price is too high for our future.” said Shamsheieva. “I am so thrilled to bring my work and the strength and hope of the Ukrainian people to LUMA this year. The piece will pay tribute to all people, all Americans, who are supporting and helping my country. Many children, women and men have lost their lives in this incredibly tragic war, and we are so grateful for the compassion that the international community is showing.”

The LUMA Projection Arts Festival will take place in downtown Binghamton on September 9th and 10th, with a rain date of September 11th. For more information on the event you can visit: lumafestival.com