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Video Report: BISP student paints his path to recovery

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Strikingly colorful works of art currently lining the hallways of the British International School Phuket (BISP) map the road to recovery for one very happy student who nearly lost his life in a motorbike accident in March 2013.

Sevastan Lukashov was left in a month-long coma after a horrific accident on the bypass road, and had to undergo extensive cranial surgery – including having a metal plate inserted into his skull – before he could start the long journey back to health.

With the help of his art therapist, Claire Lester, the 18-year-old’s creative recovery process over the last year has culminated in a collection of pieces depicting his memories of Russia, life in Phuket and his feelings about his family, recovery and more.

Sevastan’s first solo art exhibition – called “I love my life: The art of Sevastan Lukashov” – opened at BISP this month.

“Phuket helped me to see life after my accident. If this would have happened in Russa, it would have been hard for me to recover,” says Sevastan, as he stands proudly in front of one of his pieces.

When asked about his new-found talent and love for art, Sevastan says, “It makes me [happy], to remember what life is worth. Before my accident, I didn’t like my life, but now I am so happy.”

Art, in one form or another, played a pivotal role in Sevastan’s battle back to life, even if he might not have been aware of it.

“[When I was in the coma], my parents would turn on my favorite music… They talked with me to help me remember who I was and where I was,” Sevastan explains.

His mother, Irina, recalls, “Every day we would do everything we could to bring Sevastan back.
“We spoke every minute with him. We didn’t know if he was listening, but I thought it would help him.”

Music was also an element of inspiration and focus during Sevastan’s weekly hour-long sessions with Ms Lester.

“[In the beginning], his drawings were very small and labored and he found it very difficult… He worked for an hour every week and he chose the music. Mostly, it was Mozart,” Ms Lester remembers.

“He not only needed to rehabilitate himself, but his movement, his gross motor skills. It was moving, moving to the music, as well as getting what happened to him out on the canvas.”

Ms Lester says that she has seen immense improvement in the way Sevastan moves and works.

“He used to hold his hands and support his arms while he was working because he had trouble with his mobility. He used to support himself,” she says.

“Within the year, he went from using bigger paint brushes to smaller paint brushes. He could move quicker.”

Sevastan’s road to recovery has been successful, and beautiful, but it’s not over yet, says Ms Lester.

“His brain is going to continue to heal over a number of years. That’s where the art is going to help. The creativity within that is going to make connections in his brain further and it’s going to continue to heal,” she says.

It’s evident the powerful effect art has had on Sevastan’s life and health, not to mention the potential it has for his future – which Sevastan hopes will involve business and art.

“The first time I came to draw [with Ms Lester], I was drawing people – my parents, my family. I said to Ms Claire, ‘Can I draw something from my mind?'” he says.

“She said ‘It’s beautiful, it’s amazing.

“I want to say thank you, thank you so much to Ms Claire. Thank you very much.”

— Mauri Grant


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