Svetlana

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"I longed to return because I love the sea in Estonia and the country’s aesthetic beauty. I felt there were many opportunities."

I first came to Estonia in the mid-eighties as a professional artist at a theatre making costumes, decorations and marketing posters. I spent 6 years doing this here in Estonia. For various reasons, I returned to Russia. While in Russia, I longed to return, because I love the sea in Estonia and the country’s aesthetic beauty. I felt there were many opportunities as an artist for me in Estonia. Consequently, I returned in the beginning of millennium. By then Estonia was an independent republic with borders and I had a travel passport. I had sold my house in Russia to begin my artist career in Estonia. Soon after I was told my specialty was no longer needed. I began looking for ways to make a living in Estonia using my talents. During the numerous years that I have been here I have been sewing, drawing, teaching, colour consulting, doing art therapy, sketching Feng Shui interior design projects for architects, caring for animals, babysitting and of course doing my own art. Challenging times pushed and I pushed back, forcing me to find ways to manage. Since my specialty is silk painting, I developed my own technique of painting on leather. Using this medium I drew thousands of pictures of Tallinn. For this reason I always say I should be recognized as a special citizen of Estonia. A good time for me was when I worked together with architects on Feng Shui and landscape projects. Much of my work is in private collections in Russia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and the U.S. I am especially proud of one work I did with Chinese symbolism. My client had heard a legend that said during a great fire in one Chinese village all houses but one burned down. The house that remained had an image of a dragon on its wall. My client also wanted a dragon on his wall. I made a silk painting with a dragon and 15 other symbols, all of the creatures on the picture have diamonds as their eyes. Another of my works, which I find very special, is a panagia of Virgin Mary. It was a gift for a family in Bulgaria. The family took the icon to their church to ask for a blessing. I am still astounded that the priest changed into his sacred garb before blessing the icon. I am an artist. I didn’t advertise myself or my work, my clients found me. To this day all of my clients are pleased with my work. We have even become friends. Yet, it has always been like this, an artist cannot support himself – she either provides for a family or focuses on art. I am a typical artist. It is impossible to earn and live off of my art. I now need to leave Estonia, so I am waiting for the completion of my paperwork. I am moving back to Russia, where I hope I can own a private workspace, focus on my art and hopefully one day visit India, China and Hong Kong.

822 kmfrom home
#iamamigrant
Svetlana
Occupation: 
Artist
Current Country: 
Estonia
Country of Origin: 
Russian Federation

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