August 24, 2022 marks the 31st anniversary of Ukraine's restored independence. On August 24, 1991, Ukraine re-emerged as a new European state with a thousand year history.

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The Ukrainian people have fought unwaveringly for their freedom despite oppression and aggression since re-emerging as a new European state and the Southern Tier has strong ties to Ukraine.

Given the conflict happening in the home country of so many of our residents, the fact that Binghamton's LUMA Projection Arts Festival is working with an artist from an active combat zone inside Ukraine is especially meaningful.

Julia Shamsheieva, a native Ukrainian witnessed first hand her hometown of Odessa ravaged by Russian airstrikes on February 24, 2022. While Shamsheieva has witnessed devastation, she is resilient and optimistic saying that she believes there is hope and her hope is that humanity might one day "evolve not only technically, but also spiritually."

Shamsheieva began her professional career in corporate advertising but soon was drawn to other experimental forms of design and eventually was enlightened to the fact that she had a talent for light projection.

According to LUMA Festival organizers, the work produced by Shamsheieva often features imagery that is vibrant, playful, and dream-like as well as infused with joy and positivity toward the human experience.

Shamsheieva is excited to work with LUMA and says that her display will "pay tribute to all people, all Americans, who are supporting and helping my country.'

Shamsheieva went on to express, "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."

Binghamton's LUMA Projection Arts Festival will take place in downtown Binghamton on Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 10. In the event of rain, the Festival will be moved to Sunday, September 11.

Admission to LUMA Festival is free, however organizers ask those planning to attend to sign up for their mailing list as they gauge attendance numbers based on signups.

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