Painters 2013

Natalia Dik

“Wow, what a hard bright light there is in Lamu,” Natalia tells me through her friend and interpreter Margreet Boonstra. “And,” she laughs, “the moon is upside down.” We chuckle together, enjoying the moment on her veranda.  The breeze whips up and carries the sounds of children playing on neighbouring balconies. Natalia loves living in the middle of the village. “This is real life,” she tells me. “It is pure…and you feel connected to it immediately when you come here.” The purity she mentions is an organic quality, a natural composition removed from artifice. She sees this in the way people interact with one another and the informal nature of life in the village. “My apartment in Shela,” she tells me, “reminds me of the light from my childhood summers in Siberia.” She speaks fondly of her youth and the freedom and the warmth from the sun experienced as a child. She points out that in painting it is similar. “You go back to your core—before art studies, before the academy—and translate scenes” on canvas.

In Lamu, Natalia was inspired by the atmosphere, particularly the light and wind of the place. She painted several works focusing on these elements. “I mix the light and wind with my emotions and connect it with my experience,” she says, trying to explain to me her method of painting. The words are difficult for her to express, especially in a conversation moving from English to German to Russian. But I get it. For her, painting is more than the sum of her vision, rather, it is a deep, gut reaction to her experiences. Describing her attempts to paint the wind, Natalia says, “It is like meditation. You are concentrated, but floating…connected to it. It becomes your state of being.” 

Natalia  Dik was born in Russia in 1961. She studied fine arts at the Novoaltaysk College of Art and later at the then Leningrad Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. She lives part time in Amsterdam and the rest in St Petersburg, where she is a member of the St Petersburg Union of Artists. This is Natalia’s second attendance of the Lamu Painters Festival.

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