**click artwork to enlarge**
(collage painting on cardboard, 24X26, 2007)
"Collage portrait of the artist's mother as a young woman"
This portrait of my mother was painted from her photo taken when she was a young woman of twenty. I've always loved that photo of hers. I remember it since I was a little girl. It was very different because first of all, in the Soviet Union most people didn't have that many pictures of themselves to begin with and secondly the ones they did have were usually professionally taken pictures with stiff poses and unsmiling serious faces. I guess Soviet citizens were meant to project character and resolve for posterity.
However, my mom's photo is nothing like that. An admirer of hers was the person responsible for its unconformity to the then-accepted standards. My mom's face is the only thing in the picture, with her large mysterious eyes overshadowing all other facial features. Although, she is looking directly at the viewer her eyes seem to be looking through you, as if she is trying to peek into her future, not knowing what it will bring. Not scared, just wondering. She doesn't yet know that the country she lives in is just an illusion that will fall apart from the weight of all the lies. She's still unaware that she'll have a little daughter she'll almost lose after the Chernobyl disaster; that she'll have to take care for years of both her father after he becomes paralyzed and her mother who will have serious heart issues; and that she herself would ultimately end up living at the other end of the world.
It's nice to be young. It's nice not to know one's destiny. I treasure the fact that youth gives us uncertainty. Uncertainty equals optimism about the future. Not knowing what lies ahead is what allows us to pursue all kinds of opportunities. Of course, there is also a bit of a Catch-22 involved with this premise… While young people often lack the confidence to go after their dreams, as they become older and have more confidence they often lack the optimism necessary to succeed in their pursuits. I'm very proud of my mother because she is an exception to this paradox. She still goes after her dreams and gives me courage to pursue mine.
"Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life."
"Youth is wasted on the young."
"You can only be young once. But you can always be immature."