Mauve travelers drifted past photographs of fond and specific moments from the former Soviet Union today: door buzzers, hand-sewn curtains, play structures, and images from edible scenes. Photographs in an array of printed sizes and forms, loosely arranged, called to gallery goers to pluck and reflect upon their own memories from out of the clouds.
About the show:
“Distant Familiarity” is a colorful collection of photographs from a variety of locations in the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Among the assortment of scenes and subjects, evidence of particularly Russian character can be observed protruding from many of the photographs. However, it all depends on the viewer. For some, it may very well be all too familiar: a day at the beach, a hearty lunch, the playful curtains in your childhood room. Halfway across the world is just a distance; it seems in the end we share much in common.
About the artist:
I was born in the center of the Soviet Union, once upon a time when it existed. Just as the country was falling apart into many smaller countries in 1991, my mother and I left Moscow for the sunny coast of California. I was just seven years old when we reached the Land of Opportunity. We returned to Russia many times during summers to visit family still living in Moscow, but the visits became less frequent the longer we lived in the States. Skip ahead several years later, and I was a typical American college student, trying to figure out what to do with my life. While I was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Studies, I became fascinated with Russian politics and history, and even spent a semester abroad studying in Moscow in 2005. While I was there, I began taking photos like any other “tourist” visiting a new place. My native city was again new to me; not only had I changed growing up in America, but Russia too had undergone much change. I saw my native country from a foreigner’s perspective, yet with distant familiarity. My curiosity and interest in Russian culture stem from this yearning to reacquaint myself with my native heritage.
For more information about Natalia, visit: nataliamelikova.com
She is concurrently exhibiting "Moscow Black & White" at the Zughaus Gallery in Berkeley as well.
Join us at this Friday's (February 4th) evening opening to meet the artist, with tea and sushkis. The tour begins promptly at 7pm. Hope to see you there!