POW! presents the works of two female artists who both embrace cultural diversity and inclusion in their art. Alexandra Moskalenko’s mid to large-scale paintings depict a representation of people from various ethnic origins on colourful vintage fabric, exploring the concept of identity, informed by the artist’s own experience of coming from a multicultural background and living in London. Inna Bolund’s realist portrait work with colourful abstract accents, aims to unite people under a deeper, more philosophical context. Her portraits created of different ethnicities, sometimes reflect the same emotional state the artist experiences herself.
“I love British culture for its tolerance of eccentric characters, its incredible mix of deeply ingrained traditions, and forward-looking creativity. I am interested in the concept of identity and in what makes a person who they are: nature vs nurture; in how an environment can influence who we are and how in turn we can (positively) influence our environment. I think of my work as a celebration of our diversity and common humanity and as a reflection of the multi-faceted multicultural society we live in.“
Alexandra Moskalenko 2018
“From Belarus with love… God created this world incredibly beautifully. There are so many cultures in the world – so different and so striking. Some amaze us with the beauty of strictness, some with the brightest splashes of colours and sounds, some with light softness and calmness. We are different, and still we form one big beautiful world. When cultures meet – they give birth to new streams, they make the world develop. That’s good. There’s enough time, space for every person in this world. God gives enough strength to everyone to fulfil his purpose. There’s no need to destroy other cultures, violate freedom and rights of other people. All cultures are wonderful and fascinating in their own way. They are like stars… when they shine together – they make breath-taking constellations. Without stars – there’ll be darkness. Let’s shine together.” Inna Bolund 2018
“As a new emerging gallery, on a mission to embrace our sense of place in London, we exalt our past and celebrate different cultures, by joining the dots of diversity through a larger picture of creativity. We portray multiculturalism and global interconnectivity by exhibiting art and design that speaks from a spectrum of cultural vantage points, which we make accessible to all” JonaQuestArt 2018.
About the Artists
Alexandra Moskalenko was born in Paris, France in 1971 and comes from a family of painters. She has lived in London since 1995. Alexandra studied Economics and International Trade Law in Paris and she is a self-taught artist and film-maker. Alexandra’s film career has also explored the themes of belonging and identity through focusing on cultural practices as diverse as ‘tribal markings’ (Tattoos, 2002) or the great British tradition of tea-making(Tea Time, 2008) revealing in the process the interwoven fabric of London life.
Alexandra’s mixed media artwork involves a process of overlaying in oil paint a depiction of an ‘international’ character on a vintage fabric, which usually relates to the cultural fusion the figure may feel being ‘immersed’ in–though in a society that sometimes sees them as an ‘outsider’. The large, vibrantly coloured canvases become statement pieces for what ‘fitting in’ may mean; fitting into a frame; fitting in against a backdrop or fitting in positively. One of her paintings ‘A-Jay’ was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer exhibition 2015. Another painting ‘Citizen of the World – J1’ was shortlisted for the prestigious Threadneedle Prize exhibition and ‘Dapper’ was shortlisted for the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize in 2018. She has works in private collections in France, England and the United States.
Inna Bolund was born in 1985. She lives and works in Brest, Belarus. Inna Bolund is a talented, contemporary, self-taught artist with exhibitions in Belarus, Russia and London. Inna’s academic studies in Philosophy, Polotsk University, Belarus has informed her work hugely in her continued questioning of society concerning matters such as existence and human love; knowledge and dreams ;living our values and allowing our minds to remain hopeful. Inna chooses the medium of oil painting and the genre of portraiture to best express her thoughts. Her style is experimental and rooted in realism but with an abstract expressionistic flair. Nearly all contain new techniques, a splatter, a shaky line, a host of spirals, fluorescent accents which portray a sense of feeling “ a burst of colour and emotion’ by the artist and seems pertinent to the model’s mood which plays a central role in the piece. Words also make an appearance alongside marks, which have a familiarity with early tribal sign-making.
Inna is inspired by the different tonality melanin offers and many of her subjects are global. She has been on a long journey to steady herself on her artist path and endured the lack of support from others in fulfilling her ambition. Maybe it is with this pain and provocation, her portraits hauntingly echo a sense of sadness, wistfulness, defiance and struggle making them all the more powerful.