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Artist’s life cut short in horrific QEW crash

Elena Kulikova had everything to live for.

She was passionate about art and music and championed environmental causes, and she had overcome adversity to make the life she wanted for herself.

Kulikova, 34, was identified as the victim of last week’s devastating multi-vehicle crash on the QEW. Seven cars and a tractor trailer were involved in the devastation Thursday night near Trafalgar Road in Oakville.

The tractor trailer burst into flames after careering into a concrete barrier.

Kulikova’s incinerated vehicle was found Friday morning trapped between the truck and the barrier.

Friends of the victim are still in a state of shock and disbelief.

Kulikova was a painter who came to her calling a little later in life. She had a high-powered corporate career in Toronto and had worked in sales since the age of 20, but things changed after she went through a divorce. She left the city and moved to the Niagara Region.

In an interview she did just 10 days ago with a local Niagara newspaper, Kulikova explained that she had been searching for something — and painting became her salvation.

She told Niagara This Week, “My soul was yearning for something. I started losing passion for life, didn’t feel like I had a purpose.”

The interview was focused on her part in a multi-artist show in St. Catharines. A charitable undertaking in support of removing plastic from the oceans, the show also featured Kulikova’s friend and mentor, artist Evelyn Bailey.

The QEW crash in Oakville is now a fatal. A body was located as crews were cleaning up the scene. 7 vehicles were involved (5 cars, 2 trucks). A truck hauling fruit burst into flames, pinned a car against the guardrail. OPP initially reported minor injuries, said it was a miracle pic.twitter.com/gAXw0byUKG

— Jeremy Cohn (@JeremyCohnTV) August 23, 2019

Kulikova’s huge canvasses had begun to win her a large following among collectors, both individual and corporate. But she also pursued music and was a respected vocalist and pianist, having studied music since childhood. After earning a piano teaching degree from the Royal Conservatory she embraced live performance and was working on a EP.

St. Catharines-based designer Elizabeth Loomis-Taliano did not know Kulikova personally but moved in the same circles. “As a member of the local art and design community, I can say that she contributed to its vibrancy significantly,” Loomis-Taliano said Sunday. “She was loved and respected for that, deeply.”

A statement on her website attests to Kulikova’s devotion to environmental causes. It reads, “Elena’s ultimate dream, cause and biggest contribution to the world is to leverage her multiple talents to create awareness towards the massive issue of plastic pollution in our oceans and the devastatingly irreversible impact it is having on the world’s marine life.”

Elena Kulikova (Facebook)

On Facebook, a friend of Kulikova’s wrote, “Some people are taken from us because they are just too good for this earthly vibration,” adding, “It’s the only way I can make sense of it all.”

The friend also posted a link to the GoFundMe page that has been set up for Kulikova’s funeral expenses as well as to support Plastic Oceans Canada.

lbraun@postmedia.com

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