Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Boy-Island

It is very trendy these days to portray Russia as the axis of evil and condemn all the Russians en masse. That's a mistake that the politicians with their own agendas do, and the common people follow. In the last few years I am yet to read anything vaguely-positive about Russia. Yet this is a country which has an incredibly rich culture and is full of inspiring stories. It truly pains me that because of the dirty political games on both sides there is a fear that my Mum and I might not be able to see each other again if she is not granted a travel visa this summer. For many years she has been doing her heroic journey, travelling for 22 hours by train to Moscow and from Moscow to London by coach. Several days of travelling, for the sake of seeing her daughter and grandchildren.
My Mum, Lyudmila Kravchenko, is a talented artist. She is well known in Russia. Enamel is her choice of art technique, and she has inspired and taught many younger artists.
Her personal exhibition will be soon open in the city of Perm.
Today I want to share with you one of her enamel pieces. It is a portrait of my son Sasha.
My Mum called it "Boy-Island".



You cannot question the great minds of this world, and John Donne is famous for his beautiful haunting line "No man is an island".
Yet as a Mum of a son on the autistic spectrum, I could hesitantly argue that that's how it feels sometimes.
Here he is, my beautiful boy, sitting by the seashore, so close and so distant.
He is alone, immersed in his world, often aloof. He is not a faraway island, but a small isle next to the big land, a bit like St Michael's Mount, which is separated by the tides from the mother land. When the tides are low, you can walk to the island and reach him easily. When the tide is high, we are separated by the deep water and the waves of frustration, anxiety and misunderstanding.
And that's how my Mum sees it. Interesting enough, the original image of Sasha was taken during our trip to Paestum, an ancient Greek town in Italy, and in the photo he's sitting on the dry land among the ruins of the past.
My boy has just turned twelve. All these years I try to run across to him, battling the deep waters of the tide and the seaweeds that lash your feet.


12 comments:

  1. Beautiful post I hope you get to see your mum

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    1. Thank you Claire! Found yesterday's TV news re visas to the Russian citizens very depressing

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  2. I didn't know that about the visas - very sad for ordinary people caught up in the ugliness. Your Mum is very talented and has really captured Sasha here. Beautiful indeed!

    Penny

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    1. Thank you Penny! I love this artwork.

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  3. I had never heard of enamelling, what a beautiful portrait.

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    1. Thank you Kate! It is similar to porcelain painting, i.e. the paints are metal oxides and compounds, some are derivatives of gold. The main difference is that there is a metal plate inside, which is covered with the enamel. Then it is painted many times and fired at 800C+. It's a long technical process.

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  4. I clicked through to tell you how talented your mum is but, having read your blogpost, I am going to tell you how talented you are instead - that's a really poignant and moving account of what it's like living with autism. I totally understand how you feel about the visa situation too - I can imagine how I'd feel if my parents suddenly couldn't come over to visit any more. Hopefully things will get worked out so ordinary citizens don't suffer too much. *hugs*

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    1. aww thank you Cheryl, what a kind thing to say. You're a wonderful friend.

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  5. You know how much I love the art work but reading your post with it, my heart is beating, I do hope that you get to see your mum and the boys their grandmother, I will keep all crossed for you guys xxx

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    1. Thank you Angie! I pray we'll be able to see each other this summer and go to Cornwall for a week, as we have been doing for the last few years. She's turning 70 this month.

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  6. Galina, this is a wonderful post - I feel for you with your mum so far away too - I have an acquaintance in the same position whose mum has been refused a visa recently to come to the UK from Russia, even though she has been doing so for years. It is so sad when the actions of the politicians has such an impact on people who have nothing to do with the aggression and posturing that is going on. I wish you all the best x

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  7. I love this picture, and the way you link it to living with autism, so true. I hope you all get together soon.

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