Welcome: Natalia, your works are obviously professional. Even though you are young it is clear that you have taken up painting a long time ago. Who was your first tutor?
Answer: I have never been faced with the question about who was the first tutor because everybody painted: my grandfather, my mother, and I. So I represent the third generation of artists in our family. There was an exceptional atmosphere in our home. My grandfather Alexandru Gumanov was a well-known artist and I went to his studio a lot. Throughout his lifetime he has completed over five thousand paintings, which are currently exhibited in most Moldovan museums and abroad in private French, British, Greek and Turkish collections. I try to continue with the best art tradition of our family because my grandfather was the first to put a pencil and a brush into my hand. The basics of art were acquired from him and then later on I studied for it.
W: Did you graduate from the Art Republican College of Plamadeala?
A: In Moldova most artists have graduated from that college and only a few continued their education in universities. Nowadays education has become expensive and not everyone can afford it. But I wanted to keep going and enrolled in the Academy of Audiovisual Arts as a design major. My best professors there included Victor Kiosa and carpet weaver Elena Rotaru. To complete my Egyptian Nights thesis I read everything available about Egypt in the libraries of Chisinau including numerous articles, encyclopedias and monographers. Gaining this knowledge was a great input into my work, which paid off with top marks at the examination. After graduation I mastered the new glass painting technique and continued on the series adding new works to it.
W: Which book out the large amount that you read about Egypt impressed you most?
A: A famous novel by Prust called Pharaoh, which to me is not only one of the best accounts on the Egyptian civilization but also an outstanding piece of work from a literary point of view. Thanks to his brilliant imagination the writer gave detailed descriptions of the clothes they wore, of the ways of the rich and the poor in Ancient Egypt. I transmitted this into my paintings, filling them with life. In Ermitaj museum in St. Petersburg I was very much impressed by the statue of Arsinon, the Chief Goddess of the cult of Ram in Mendes and temple frescos that have been preserved until modern days. I worked hard to develop this theme because it is well known that talent is 99% work.
W: You are in a state of permanent exploration, mastering not only painting but carpet weaving as well. When did you feel you have an interest in that?
A: When I was on holiday in Romania I visited some old castles. Tapestries were extremely popular in castles belonging to the nobles across Europe during the 17th – 18th centuries. Hung up on walls of rooms and halls they depicted hunting and battles scenes. I found this topic very interesting. But the tapestry technique was always kept in secret and was never passed on to our days. I did a lot of research and then had the chance to meet Elena Rotaru, a master carpet weaver. My first works were sea theme tapestries that were exhibited in the National History Museum with the works of artist Dmitrie Shibalov, Alexandr Ahlupi, and Alexander Gushaev. Then I carried out a portrait of an eminent figure in the history of Moldova Petru Movila that was sold to the National History Museum. It is still exhibited there.
W: What festivals did you have the opportunity to participate in?
A: At the International Festival of Hadcrafts in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev. My tapestries were exhibited there under the series name My Flourishing Land Moldova. For the first time I attempted to include trees, stones and flowers in Moldova landscapes. This resulted in a new interesting technique, which many people enjoyed.
W: The exhibition features six oil paintings; some of them depict small old streets of Chisinau. What do you find attractive about the old city?
A: Old buildings – is the history that leaves with time and people. New generations build new houses that are quite different and similar to each other. These constructions often carry little individuality from an architectural aspect. That is why I try to leave a little bit of the past in my paintings.
W: One more question. What are some of the themes that you plan to unravel in the future?
A: Currently I am enthralled by Ancient Greece. When I read Greek myths I can almost visualize the legendary heroes described in them. I would very much like to take it up as a theme however there is no definite plan at the moment. However I will do my best to make it as beautiful as possible because this is what Moldova needs today.