Painters 2017

Marina Rubanova

Transplanted from a Moscow winter to Lamu, it took Marina a good week to settle into the island rhythm. She admits, “at the very beginning I was overwhelmed by the strangeness and I was frustrated by my inability to convey the beauty around me.” Once established, she found the island’s bright exotic colours, smells and liveliness had a profound effect on her work. She was fascinated by a sense of harmony and diversity of the people from the Masaai warriors to the Swahili men, women and children. She also found it stimulating to work alongside European and Kenyan artists and sculptors.

Brought up in Grozny and proud of her Terek Cossack heritage, Marina knew she wanted be an artist from an early age. Her sister graduated from art school and her father liked to sketch. A geologist, he would often take her on his trips and introduced her to the natural world. At the age of 12, she was bed-bound with a serious illness. Marina credits her recovery with the days surrounded by her family’s collection of reproductions of French Impressionist and Russian art. Health restored, she moved from Grozny and pursued her studies in Moscow. It was a tumultuous period in Russian history with the distingeration of the USSR and the onset of the Chechen war. Studying painting under famous classical Russian artists including Alexander Fomkin, Eugene Troshev, Sergei Gavrilyachenko, and Ivan Lubennikov, she was also learnt the disciplines of mosaic, sgraffito and monumental painting.

Marina has been involved in a number of prestigious commissions including murals and mosaics and has had a number of solo exhibitions. As well as painting, she teaches art and writes about plein air in Russia and other countries.

Lamu has had a lasting impression on Marina and she says that she has been encouraged to revise her painting technique. In particular, she eloquently describes the ‘pinkish-pearl’ light as enriching her work. Thinking ahead to her next project, she says “I'm thinking of pictures on a biblical theme using this colour.”

“This experience is unforgettable and I dream of returning to Lamu Archipelago ...”

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