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He was crushed upon losing his sketchbook with a decade's work. Then, his community rallied to help.

The Toronto-based artist thought his decade-long work was lost, but to his surprise, he got it back proving humanity is still alive.

He was crushed upon losing his sketchbook with a decade's work. Then, his community rallied to help.
Cover Image Source: Instagram/Dmitry Bondarenko

For any artist in the world, the art they create holds great meaning and value. Losing their art would be nothing less than a disaster. Something similar happened in real life to Dmitry Bondarenko, a Toronto-based artist and lecturer. But humanity and empathy led his art back to him, reports Good News Network. The art book that Bondarenko lost was extremely important as he had spent almost a decade filling the sketchbook with various acrylic and gouache paintings. The loss happened when the artist was cycling through Leslieville.

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A post shared by Dmitry Bondarenko (@handdrawndmitry)


Bondarenko immigrated from USSR to Canada. This move also makes the sketchbook more important. The sketchbook featured memories of the artist's experiences in the USSR. Some of his most precious memories in the book are still-life paintings of objects belonging to his Russian great-grandfather in the Red Army. The moment Bondarenko realized that the sketchbook was lost, he felt extremely sad about the turn of events. The book had significant value for him emotionally and he wanted it back at all costs.

Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by Brett Sayles
Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by Brett Sayles

The first thing that Bondarenko did was retrace his steps through the entire journey he took in Leslieville. After not finding any success this way, he stuck almost 70 flyers on telephone poles and street lamps around the locality. He also checked with park services whether they had gotten any information about the sketchbook. Finally, in a last-ditch attempt, he turned to social media.

He took to Facebook and wrote in a private group named Weird Toronto, "I'd just let it go, but this book was different. Some losses and mistakes simply hurt more than others, and I need to give finding this book a try." The post then reached a group named "I Am A Leslievillain." Fortunately, Chris Ellam, the man who found the book was a part of that group.

According to Toronto Star, Ellam found the sketchbook on the trail. With one look through the sketchbook, he immediately understood the value attached to the book. But he had no way of returning the book to its rightful owner as there was no name, contact number or address within it. He tried from his end to find the owner, but after not getting any success, he even considered hanging it from a tree near the place where he found the sketchbook. Ultimately, he decided not to do it, as he thought it could be damaged by the rain.

Ellam saw the Facebook post and got in touch with a series of people to reach Bondarenko. Talking about the meeting, Ellam said, "And then I lectured him like an old man. I told him, 'Put your name and number in it!'" After getting his precious sketchbook back, Bondarenko tried many times to give a reward to Ellam, but the kind stranger refused. The whole incident has humbled Bondarenko and the fact that Ellam took it upon himself to help him and reunite him with his sketchbook has reinstated his faith in humanity. He calls it a welcome act of goodwill.

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