A sculptor who now lives in Oxford after leaving Ukraine following Russia’s invasion has been accepted into the Royal Society of British Artists.

Alex Lidagovsky said the honorary membership was an “exciting” and “unexpected” surprise. 

He left Kyiv with his family and only a suitcase after his studio was destroyed in the early days of the conflict which started on February 24, 2022.

thisisoxfordshire: Alex Lidagovsky came to the UK after Russia's invasion of UkraineAlex Lidagovsky came to the UK after Russia's invasion of Ukraine (Image: PA)

Now settled in the UK, Mr Lidagovsky, who was a well-regarded sculptor in Ukraine, has a studio at Fusion Arts Studios, in Kingston upon Thames, south-west London.

Mr Lidagovsky said: "My studio was destroyed at the beginning of the war and was near Kyiv and I knew about it later from my friends when they sent me photos of destroyed and bombed studio.

"When we were leaving Ukraine to save our daughter we never thought it would be for so long."

Lidagovsky's wife, Dasha Nepochatova, 43, has been recently granted an opportunity to pursue MPhil in Slavonic Studies at Oxford University, which has “always been a dream” of hers.

She said: "My focus will be Ukrainian female literature as a women empowerment tool because, in Ukraine in 2020, I founded the first, feministic, publishing house called Creative Women Publishing and we want Ukrainian female voices to be heard."

She recalled the start of the Russian invasion, as an "unbelievable" and "surrealistic" event.

Mr Lidagovsky shared how initially in the UK, the language barrier posed obstacles to their fresh start.

thisisoxfordshire: Alex Lidagovsky's studio in Ukraine was destroyed in the warAlex Lidagovsky's studio in Ukraine was destroyed in the war (Image: PA)

He credited his employment adviser, Caitlin Bugler, for being a relentless support.

He said Ms Bugler was “amazing” and from the first moment they met, she “behaved like a proper art manager” and offered support and information about opportunities.

He said: "Starting from scratch here in the UK with the status of a refugee, it was very important for me to stay in the profession because I felt like I lost my voice and my language, so it was important for me to not lose my professional identity."

Some of Mr Lidagovsky’s highlights from his career in the UK so far include showcasing a work at the Winter Sculpture Park in Bexley, south-east London, in February 2023, and being granted honorary membership of the Royal Society of British Artists.

By winning of one of the five residency prizes at Lucca Biennale Cartasia, he will now have his sculpture, Swallow’s Flight, displayed in Lucca, Italy.

Mr Lidagovsky added: "I am extremely thankful to my friends and colleagues in Britain, as well as the British government and World Jewish Relief, for giving me the chance to stay true to myself and my profession and continue to fight for my country, Ukraine."