By Luba L Roshchyna
My mother used to love watching her Brazilian or Mexican soaps. She would make herself a cup of coffee, load her plate with something tasty and sit there on the sofa and dream of a better life...
One day she said: "Oh I could have lived this kind of life if I had pursued my love for ballet and if I hadn't married your father!" It was always said with a sigh of regret and longing for what was no longer possible.
The sadness and fueling of a loss behind those casual words stroke me to the core. And at that very moment I swore to myself that I would embrace life fully, welcome every experience, travel the world and make my life so amazing that one day....when I am old... i do not sit on the sofa watching a soap regretting the chances I have never taken and experiences I have never lived.
Twenty two countries later, eleven out which I lived in, I found myself in Mauritius, alone, abandoned last minute by my lover, my stomach clenched with an immense grief of a loss of love and trust in life.
At this very moment of a total surrender to what is, life (oh, life has much better plans for us than we can imagine!) literally put me in front of a famous Mauritian artist at her little exhibition booth... Her gentle heart saw into my grief and she embraced me with all the care and love inviting me for a day of art therapy at her house. This is when I stood in front of the real canvas for the first time in my life. I felt this urge of expressing everything that I was experiencing at that very moment. I couldn't talk about it because the pain was so great but I needed to let it out in some way. With a gentle guidance of my new-found teacher I spotted paints on the canvas, I mixed them with my hands letting the agony of what I felt pour out. As I was moving my hands around the canvas I noticed that all my thoughts had subsided... there was this beautiful silence, comforting emptiness inside. That day I carried home my first painting ever, carefully holding it close to my chest like a child would hold her teddy. That was the day when I knew that painting will be part of my life from then on.
Exactly a year later, I am in Zanzibar in the process of creating a series of paintings called "The Soul of Africa".This series is a tribute to the mysterious continent of Africa and its people that became home and family to me nearly two decades ago. It is inspired by the images of ancient russian orthodox icons, textures of crumbling walls of Zanzibar Stone Town and bursts of colours of the surroundings. It is an intricate fusion of the modern times characters of this magestic land and emotions and visions that come over you when you catch a glimpse of what is behind the veil of a common perception.
This series challenges gender, racial and cultural stereotypes. It prompts to discover magic of life by finding courage to step out beyond the borders of social limitations into the unity and interconnectedness of all that is.
About Luba Roshchyna:
Born in the former USSR, Luba travelled with her parents all around Eurasia. This passion for travelling got stronger as she grew up. Soon after her graduation from the university in foreign languages, life presented her with an opportunity to spend 6 months in East Africa (Tanzania). This is when she first put my foot on this continent, and when her second home came to be.
A few years later she joined a company dealing with gemstones and high end jewellery. For a decade she enjoyed dealing with the romance of the stones, meeting people from all over the world, hearing their stories, learning from them. And then the time came to move on and launch out on her own. She took off for Bangkok to complete the course of the jewellery design at GIA (Gemological Institute of America), a place where she would reinvent herself and start a new story of her life.
Throughout all these years of travelling and discoveries her motto was and still remains a quote from 'Invictus' by W.E.Henley:
"...I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul..."