Canada‘Shining star’: Artist Elena Kulikova identified as victim in QEW crash
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Shortly before she hopped in her car Thursday night to see her boyfriend in Markham, Niagara Falls artist Elena Kulikova shared a Facebook post about the burning Amazon rainforest.
There was also one about the Echo Movement Global Clean Up. Last weekend, she put on an art/ fashion show to benefit cleanup efforts by Plastic Oceans Canada.
Feisty and compassionate, Kulikova is being remembered by friends and family as an artist who embraced her causes as much as her paintings. The 34-year-old died in a fiery
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“She was so clear of her path, she left on a very high note,” said Niagara Falls artist Evelyn Bailey, who formed a strong friendship with Kulikova over the past year. “She became an ambassador for Plastic Oceans Canada and used her art to bring awareness.”
After a costly divorce, Kulikova left behind a career in corporate sales in Mississauga to move to Chippawa. The move motivated her inner artist, and she soon befriended Bailey. She started creating huge canvasses for custom-made homes.
The two friends painting side by side gave her a “fusion of energy,” she said.
“It was a soul awakening,” Kulikova said in an interview with The Niagara Falls Review just last week. “I went through a lot of emotional challenges and changes in life, and art was really my way of healing."
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Last weekend, she mounted her first art event in St. Catharines in which artists created original work on cross-shoulder, guitar-shaped bags. The Fine Art Showcase and Fashion Shaw raised money for Plastic Oceans Canada, for which she was the group’s corporate arts sponsor.
Halton Regional Police were called to a multi-vehicle accident involving seven vehicles on the Queen Elizabeth Way near the Trafalgar Road ramp in Oakville around 11 p.m. Thursday.
They believe a tractor-trailer rolled over and caught fire. Ontario Provincial Police say a Niagara Falls woman was discovered deceased in her car early the next morning, pinned between the concrete barrier and the truck.
By late Friday the OPP would still not identity the victim, but Bailey says Kulikova’s family has been informed. She is planning an event in Toronto Sunday to honour her, where she launched her first art event. Her friends, she said, “will know where.” It starts at noon.
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Friends shared their shock and sorrow on Kulikova’s Facebook page throughout the day Friday.
“Dear Elena, thank you for the little time that we shared, how much you invested in me,” said Evelyn Canton. “I am speechless, you were always such a shining star,” added Jone Lam.
“You were so kind, so caring, so loving, so full of life,” wrote Maria Rouditchenko. “You were one of the sweetest people in my life.”
“I can’t even believe the type of friendship we built in just under a year,” said Bailey, fighting back tears. She intends to continue selling Kulikova’s artwork to raise money for Plastic Oceans Canada and may assume her role as arts sponsor.
“What Elena would have loved was to see a world where single-use plastic is no longer in existence. That’s the best message we can leave people with.”
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