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From a coma to a solo exhibition

They say that there’s a silver lining in every cloud. When you begin to look for reasons to believe that every experience is a blessing, you will start to find those reasons.

By Dalia Hilmi

Friday 30 January 2015, 03:47PM

This is certainly true for 18-year-old Sevastan Lukashov. Originally from Russia, Sevastan is a student of the British International School Phuket (BISP), and back in March 2013 he was involved in a serious motorbike accident. Almost two years on, he is soon to hold an exhibition showcasing all the art he has created since the accident.

Sevastan spent three weeks in a coma and had to have a metal plate fitted into his skull. After a heart wrenching time for his family and friends, Sevastan finally regained consciousness.

A year after the accident, Sevastan began to express himself through art and painting. He did actually start to draw when he was just seven years old, but Sevastan claims he didn’t draw very well because it wasn’t “very interesting” for him at the time.

It was 10 years later (2014) that he began to draw again, but this time his art tells a story. Sevastan started to express his emotions and feelings through music and art. He began to familiarise and relate to some of the greats, like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

“I really like Mozart. It’s classic music and it can really help you work,” Sevastan told The Phuket News in an interview last week.

One person in particular has witnessed the inspiring creative change in Sevastan, Neil Richards, Headmaster at BISP. “For me, you were expressing what you were feeling. That’s what art is, right? And what’s really powerful, was it felt like you were starting to come out. You started to express yourself to music. Just full of life.

“After the accident we were worried, but then you started to communicate your feelings and thoughts through painting. People who knew about the accident could see that, it was like you were saying ‘I’m here, I’m alive!’”

Claire Lester, Art Coordinator at BISP, spoke about him with sheer pride and joy in her eyes. “From the very first painting, you could see how much he had developed. His movement was restricted, but now it’s all coming back. From smaller paintbrushes, to the way he started to reach up. His brain was really starting to heal.”

Claire explained how Sevastan’s development, both physically and mentally, was a testament to the school and how well everyone looked after and nurtured him.

“It was hard to believe he was ever going to come out of the coma. No one knew if he was going to make it.”

His zest for life is evident through his new-found interest in music, he has even started to learn how to play guitar. Both his teachers have said he is embracing life and making the most of every minute. And the things he’s grabbing, are creative: music and art.

New Paths Retreat

Prior to the life-changing accident, Sevastan spent his days like most young boys; playing video games and football. But now, he wakes up early, watches the sunrise and enjoys being around nature. He’s also made an effort to show his love to his parents, Viktor and Irina.

“I didn’t show them before. But, you can lose your life easily, you have to savour every moment and go out and do what you enjoy. Every human came to this life to do something. You should try to do good not only for yourself, but for other people. I found myself really wanting to come to school and learn,” Sevastan said.

Each of his art pieces, all of which he has entitled himself, are representative of something in his life. His favourite piece is his first one, Winter in my city, which is about the snow and beautiful winter colours where he comes from.

Neil explained that the raw emotion in the art is Sevastan responding to being alive. His ability to communicate in this manner has shocked and inspired so many, both friends and other pupils at the school. Neil described how the school gave him the time, expense, and equipped him with being able to paint over the last year.

“Most of his pieces are finished within an hour. He gets so into it and we are really proud of him.”
Both his parents supported him through the traumatic ordeal, and his mother Irina says all she did was cry. She never smiled. A stark contrast to the happy, joyful and relieved parents present in the room last week.

Indeed, it would seem that the accident has done something so powerful to the whole family. It has somehow made them stronger and brought them even closer together. The special bond they now hold is something which can be seen by everyone.

Although Sevastan is not afraid of life, he is a lot wiser and thinks about things a lot more. Something unfortunately not all teenagers do.

The exhibition will be Sevastan’s first and will showcase all his paintings. It will be held at BISP on Wednesday February 4 and will be open to the general public.

Going forward, Sevastan hopes to be a businessman, while continuing his passion for painting and art. His charismatic and warm personality is a strong part of him, and he has used this experience to help him grow and explore who he is through music and painting.

“One day, when I have children, maybe they will paint too. The art comes from my soul,” Sevastan concluded.



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