A patch at the intersection of Karla Marksa and Serova streets in Simferopol is the liveliest place. It used to be the place where the youth met, mothers brought their children for a walk to the fountain, but since recently the atmosphere has changed. Now it is mottle because of people in green and brown camouflage, blue Kuban Cossack uniforms, and God knows what other jackets, breeches, boots, and bootlegs. Recently the Republic Square has been opened here – and Russian military men in uniforms without chevrons, so-called self-defense fighters, and Kuban Cossacks in camouflage, but often with guns on their belts and for some reason whips – are on duty here all the time: they sit or even lie on the benches, walk here and there. They are richly decorated with colored ribbons – three-colored and yellow-and-black ones, which used to be called “moire ribbons of glory,” and now they are called “Colorado” ribbons (because they look like Colorado beetles). The three-colored Russian flag has been established here, and a kind of a buffet is operating under it – “self-defense” fighters eat here cakes and rolls, wash them down with tea, discuss something, swear, laugh, and argue. From here they leave for watches and “tasks.” Here the transport can drive up to the so-called state council, therefore the State Motor Vehicle Inspectorate officers are patrolling the patch.
The windows of the House of Artist overlook namely this square. And when you enter the exhibition hall, the dissonance of the world of art inside and the world of violence and hostility outside arrest your attention. The military men, Cossacks, and “self-defense” fighters do not visit the exhibit – this world is strange to them.
At the same time, the exhibit of the Merited Artist of Ukraine Tetiana Shevchenko has opened at the House of Artist: numerous big canvases with colored pastel paintings cover all the walls completely – this is a burst of emotions, a rage of spring feelings which are missing this spring in reality. All the more so Shevchenko, unlike other artists, is present in the hall, she talks to visitors, tells stories of her canvases, and examines the emotions and reaction of the visitors.
“I like the beginning of the work. As I stand in front of a clean canvas, I am thinking: here I will paint the best things, like in childhood, and only good and happy time is lying ahead. I never lack topics. I take one topic, and another one is waiting for its time, and does not leave me alone until I accomplish it. What a shame that the life is short,” Shevchenko shares her thoughts.
Shevchenko has held tens of solo exhibits all over the world, and her pictures are scattered all over the globe and adorn the most famous collections of many countries.
“I paint with my fingers, feeling every touch, every stroke, and color,” Shevchenko says, “If I lack tones, I make them myself. Therefore I take many times all colors of pastel. The technique needs a special thorough elaboration. Being involved in pastel painting, I have thought long about this technique, and suddenly I realized that it is the oldest in the world. When the primitive man after a successful hunting took a piece of limestone and started to depict himself and his tribesmen, it was the first pastel painting, and the cave paintings are hundred thousand years old. I am sure this technique has not been studied enough and is scarcely used by artists, so I sincerely hope that everything is waiting ahead.”
Tetiana Shevchenko considers the Crimea the main hero of her paintings: the peaceful, flourishing, limitless, loving, and loved Crimea, which will always live, if not in reality, then in our hearts.
The exhibit showcases many new works of the artist. She is very much proud of the portrait of Saint Luka – the most famous archbishop of the Crimea Voino-Yasenetsky, painted in golden colors. Its peculiar feature is that whichever angle you take to look at the portrait, Luka will still look you directly in the eyes. This peculiarity of the picture is impressive and it makes one believe in the miracles of painting.
Tetiana Shevchenko has dedicated many pictures to the Russian topic: these are portraits of outstanding persons and even royal people. At the same time, she is the most Ukrainian of all Crimean artists, because these paintings are executed with Ukrainian softness and tenderness, with deepness that is not typical of people who are on duty with whips behind the window of the exhibition hall. Even her signature looks like an anagram, and resembles the Ukrainian trident.
“The Crimea is not just a birthplace for me,” Shevchenko says, “I am in love with it. The Crimea is inseparable from me. It is complex. Its archaic nature resists the violence of man and, fortunately, preserves its uniqueness, the antique beauty: all these mountains, the sea, the herbs, the relict plants, high sky, and nacreous light of the sun whose rays break through the clouds. How strongly I want to get distracted from the fuss, daily routine, stop in our crazy race, get dissolved in its atmosphere, and understand that everyone is the creator of his own paradise and hell.”