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Tightrope walker

Russian artist Ekaterina Abramova’s art, inspired by her stay in India, will be on display at an exhibition titled ‘Windows’ in Varanasi. she depicts themes like mythology, occult, tantra and yoga in a bold manner

Russian artist Ekaterina Abramova, who paints women in the nude, is in love with India. Her journey as an artist had a lot to do with her stay in Goa and Delhi. “Living in India enriched my palette, composition, my worldview,” she says.

Art is as fundamental to her as breathing and an artist is “a vehicle, a conductor.” While she likes to paint woman in the nude, she says, “In my art, I am searching for the Man. And my purpose is to dig that Man out and bring Him forth in each of us.”

Abramova’s art is all about connecting the subtle spheres to the material worlds. She’s not a bleeding heart artist, but is optimistic and grateful to the divine, for she feels life is full of light and every moment is a gift. “My holy grail is to remain in sync with the vibrations of life.” She sees herself as a “tightrope walker balancing between the world” and her art as “a bridge joining continents.”

Delhi is the city she loves, with its history, dynasties and beautiful buildings, “I felt at home here,” she says. She was told that the people of Delhi are not as polite as in Mumbai but her experience is different. “I met very good people in Delhi.”

Delhi’s Sainik Farms was her home away from home, where she had a room in the house of an elderly Russian woman Galina Atray, married to an Indian. “She’s of my mother’s age, helped sell my art, organise exhibitions. She was my manager and much more, a mentor,” she says. Her exhibition at the Russian Cultural Center a few years ago was a big success.

She speaks Hindi well, and can be heard instructing her help to cook a big meal of daal, chawal, paneer ki sabzi. But she is not satisfied with her language skills. “It’s not good enough,” she says, as she wants to speak Hindi like a native.

By 2012, she was selling art in India. In 2014, she was awarded an International Artist Residency in Hyderabad, India, organised by the State Fine Art Gallery and Kalanirvana Foundation, to represent Russia among 20 other artists from all over the world and another art residency in Goa Chitra Museum. She came and stayed in India for five-six years, mostly in Goa and Delhi. This was an intense period of painting, and a fruitful one, for she participated in numerous exhibitions, in India and abroad, studied mythologies, occult, Tantra and yoga, as is lively depicted in her bold paintings. She was also holding regular workshops on these issues in Goa.

In Goa, she would find many female models willing to pose in the nude to inspire her artwork. Currently living in the New York City Metropolitan area and visiting India for Windows, she says, “If Russia is the country of my roots, India is the one of my soul; the United States is the country where it all comes together— it is the country where I and my art flourish and thrive.” But finding a good model in New York is difficult compared to Goa, she confesses.

 

Ekaterina Abramova has experienced the best of all worlds. Her art is on display in galleries all over the world and as part of a private collection in UK, France, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, China, India and the US.

A loner of a girl, she grew up in Khotkovo, a small town surrounded by woods and temples in the suburbs of Moscow. Otherwise a quiet girl, she had conjured her own little fairy land with angels and spirits. Her association with art started at the age of nine when she enrolled in an art school.
Her father, a woodcarving artist, has had a profound impact on her art, he taught her to love fairy-tales, folk art, symbols and ornaments. But she lost him when she was barely 11 years old.

From her early years, she was confronted with the existential question of who she is and what she’s doing here on Planet Earth. With pencils and brushes as a tool, she set out on expedition unto her own self, to seek answers. A journey that hasn’t ended, but along the way has inspired some great art.

During her student days at the prestigious Repin Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, she was enamoured with the world of symbolism. In her sophomore year at the Academy, her life took a new turn: an association with India began that changed her life forever. In this trip to Himalayas and then her stay in Goa in 2008, “I found my world and my philosophy of life. The depths and grandeur of Indian cosmogony opened the vistas to myself,” she says with an air of nostalgia.