I was born in Lviv, Ukraine. My mother worked as a teacher of mathematics and my father served in the military. Of course, I don’t remember the moment I came into this wonderful world, but my mother said that the very first thing I did was to greet her with a beautiful smile!
By nature, I appear to be quiet and calm, but I always protected those children who could not stand up for themselves. In early childhood, I made no division between adults and children, as to me everyone was simply human, and also I did not differentiate between animals and plants: everything is alive and everything speaks to you! I thank God that I am still able to look at the world with so much joy in my heart!
I remember the period before school as a time of complete freedom with a lot of fun, and having great affection and respect for everything around! I remember my dogs, cat, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, goldfish and other types of fish. One of my dogs was a true hero – he saved a little girl who was lost in the woods. I remember how serious I was about finding homes for the newborn kittens. I also cared for those animals who died for various reasons – organizing a pet cemetery for them, where the children laid flowers.
I wept copious tears when emotions of spiritual and aesthetic pleasure overwhelmed me. Oh, those unforgettable visits to the Church with my grandmother! The choir singing in glorious and ethereal unison, the powerful majestic rays of light breaking through the colourful and illuminating stained glass, the mysterious and uplifting images of saints, the smell of the beautiful flowers, the flickering of candles, the whispering of prayers… all these seemed to make me feel that I was losing consciousness and no longer existed! I could not listen to classical music, watch ballet and… films about the war without tears welling up in my eyes. I was never able to comprehend and understand destruction, because to my mind a human was made to create only the good and to rejoice!
I went to schools in Belarus and Hungary. I often recall my friend who, with great skill, drew horses and loved fairy tales!
I attended music school, and numerous choreography and needlework classes. I really loved music, but found learning to read the notes was an utterly depressing task for me. I wanted to play an instrument without these notes and without these rules!
After graduating from school, I worked at an organization that supplied books to libraries. This was a time when I had to carry large numbers of books, and also a time when I read a great deal, and although the books were heavy they were nevertheless very interesting. By the way, I really did not like to read at school, I found it boring. I preferred to dream instead, to walk in the fields among the wild flowers. However, one day I discovered the book Robinson Crusoe, and that was the defining moment when my fascination with and love of books began. Nevertheless, I did not know for certain the person that I wanted to become.
I received my Master’s and Doctoral degrees in the specialty of Book Studies. I am fascinated by old printed books and also by the various types and editions of children’s literature from all periods. They inspire me!
I was lucky to work at a huge museum for over 20 years, The Borys Voznytsky Lviv National Art Gallery. It embraces castles, palaces, exhibition halls, etc. In fact, Borys Voznytsky himself taught me the necessary skills to create new museums and exhibitions. Therefore, I managed to put together a network of literary museums of the poet Markiyan Shashkevych, for the creation of which I received a State award.
However, without a doubt the greatest gift from God was the birth of my lovely daughter! I will never forget her first smile. Now I know how Angels look when they smile!
My story as an artist is amazing. My family, predominated by the cult of exact sciences, perceived my sensuality as a weakness. I first became fascinated by drawing at elementary school – my mathematics teacher had a wonderful and truly inspiring technique – she wanted us to draw mathematics! When I had to add 5 bugs to 7, I felt my first stirrings of artistic passion: my insects took hold of each other by the legs and began to whirl around and dance (by the way, I love folk dancing and dance myself)!
My grandma taught me how to hand paint Easter eggs. I will never forget her master classes! Also I will never forget my 6th grade drawing teacher – she was so charismatic, so special, and seemed like a mystical being to me. Thanks to her lessons, my painting won the competition: I drew a high-rise building with a little dog in front of it, and there were no humans outside. Probably the jury was struck by my motive and representation of loneliness. This was how my career as an artist seemed to end, but the hard work devoted to museology, research and lecturing began.
Many years passed. One day I sat myself down, and in complete silence attempted to listen to what my heart was telling me. It seemed that my heart was dangling outside my body, similar to a pendant. I knew all the needs of all those close to me, yet I did not know what I myself wanted. What is it that I am lacking in order to be completely happy? I went back to my childhood, recalling that I had always been drawing in all my notebooks, that as an adult I drew during all my meetings, and also I drew at home on anything I could lay my hands on: clothes pegs, windows, sticks. «Oh! I want to draw!» I thought, and tears of pure and utter joy and happiness splashed down onto my first canvas!
When I am drawing, I seem to be within a totally harmonious, bright and joyful world! I do not exist! I do not think! I do not need anything – only the bright colours and the snow-white canvas! When I do not paint for a time, I feel almost a physical pain and I am completely out of sorts. I have hundreds of sketches, but I am unable to transfer them onto canvas, as I do not like to reproduce the same picture twice. When I place a canvas onto an easel, I never know what I will paint. I just daub on the paint, and the colour dictates the plot and leads the way. Paints are as living beings to me: some sound low, muffled… and others are light-bearing, playful, pliant and unpredictable! Whilst drawing, I become more and more emotionally charged with excitement with every passing minute, and the very process of drawing fascinates me as if I am taking part in an unfamiliar adventure in the Universe! I am happy, so very happy because of this!
I recall with great pleasure my first exhibitions, the lectures given on the subject of my painting, people’s emotions, their reviews, their smiles and hugs! My paintings are known as «The fireworks of joy» and then I realize that I was born for a reason!
I thank God for my talent!