Painters 2015

Svetlana Tiourina

From the moment Tiourina arrived in Lamu, she picked up a pen and began to sketch every person and living thing to cross her path. She drew the Swahili women, casually dressed residents, wide-eyed children, her fellow artists and the braying donkeys. Her sketches were instinctive, intuitive and personal, and explored the facial expressions and the social climate of the people of Lamu. Tiourina drew at breakfast, dinner, on the boat, and at the bar. She drew in her sleep.

Born in Perm, Russia, Tiourina moved to Amsterdam in 1994 where she began her career as a writer and illustrator of children’s books. In 2000, in New York City, she won a competition at an international cartoon exhibition called 21st Century, Humanity in Nature (awarded by United Nations). Looking for other ways to express her creativity, she began to dabble with paint.

In 2004, Tiourina started to produce figurative painting. These were accompanied by narratives about the lives of the people she drew. Her subject matter consisted of what she calls, “joyful, happy things,” and she drew in an audience looking for easy and sweet subject matter.

A cheery extrovert, Tiourina believes she has recently begun a new life, a more gleeful one than her past communicated. Confidently sunbathing on the rooftop during her interview, she smiles and says, “There is nothing more I need in life. I have it all. I paint flowers, cats, the female form and the things that bring happiness to others.” Most of Tiourina’s artwork depicts the female form in a sensual manner. They are an investigation of, “what it means to be beautiful; what beauty really is.” Tiourina paints from her home studio in Amsterdam. She has exhibited in Japan, Italy, Holland and the USA.