The co-authors of the works are Murmansk women – foxes, cats, howls in the forest Murmansk Evening

Maria Taran, a resident of Murmansk, says there is not enough time. If anyone was selling, I would buy it! Think of the whole Taran family in the female line – fidgets. And all as one artist.

My city M.

Maria Afanasievna Taran is a well-known master of leather painting in Murmansk. Marina, her daughter, specializes in batik, artistic painting on fabric. And granddaughter Maya became famous even when she was not even two years old, taking part in the creative family exhibition “My City M”. (0+), dedicated to the children of Murmansk and to herself, the Maya.

The Murmansk trio of creative women, preparing for a joint exhibition, divided the roles in this way: Maya made a general sketch, Marina “unfolded” it in the plot and Maria Afanasievna completed it, painting the picture, added her own unique taste of soul and love for her.

Needless to say, this exhibition at the city fairgrounds, full of family warmth and the atmosphere of Murmansk childhood, was a great success? Add to this the relaxing ethnic instrumental music from the Murmansk Atma studio, which organically “decorated” the family show “My City M” and introduced its guests to the sounds of flutes from all countries and continents and the gentle harp playing. And the picture of the unusual exposure will be complete.

Exclusive bags

The Taran family has a long and close partnership with the Murmansk Exhibition Center. After all, dozens of gifted citizens, professionals and amateurs, exhibit their works here. In the Taran family creative trio, just five-year-old Maya is an amateur. But the room’s honest and warm form seems to blur the boundaries between experienced professionals and cowardly newcomers. And some of the townspeople come here just to learn the basics of art for many master classes, which are then discussed with great inspiration on social media.

The results of Maria Taran’s master classes, who taught the townspeople to paint on leather and paint their own bags, are still visible on the streets of Murmansk. After all, what woman from Murmansk refuses to show off her exclusive bag again, the price of which increases significantly after painting? Unfortunately, during the pandemic, Maria Afanasievna had to close her master classes. But the interest for them in the creative environment is still huge. And, as the artist of Murmansk says, if he finds time, he will try to return to them.

“The women of Murmansk, who did not know how to design at all, dyed their bags perfectly, were happy and satisfied and I was with them,” says Maria Afanasyevna about, perhaps, the most important result of her master classes. – Creativity enriches. And even more together! I did a lot of preparation, I contacted the residents of the city, I asked what exactly they wanted to see in the final result, I clarified the future plans. And they painted pictures on the skin. And they painted on T-shirts, jeans, leather jackets. The eleventh graders excelled: they dyed their T-shirts and jackets this way – everyone gasped for joy!

poisonous colors

After the family, Maria Taran has the closest creative partners – friends. And none of them have an artistic education.

“My friends’ professions are in no way related to creativity, one of them is a welder, the other is a storekeeper, the third is a salesman, the fourth is a cook and the fifth is a weaver,” says Maria Afanasyevna. – But everyone supports me in my creative works. My friends are frequent visitors to my exhibitions and a large group to visit the cultural events of Murmansk.

The artist made real friends after moving to Murmansk to retire. And before that, with her husband, an army officer, she lived for a quarter of a century in Gremikha and Ostrovnoy.

“Working there was very difficult, but I was lucky,” he recalls. – For about 20 years I worked as a graphic designer, first in the House of Culture, and then in the military trading system. And in recent years, he has taught drawing and painting at the Ostrovny Children’s Art House. There was a lot of work in Gremikha and Ostrovnoy. There were no computers or copying equipment then. I had to design on plywood (sometimes with poison colors), paint shop windows, decorate shop spaces and prepare posters for the holidays. Before the New Year I painted so many Santa Clauses, Snowmen, bunnies, that were already waving in my eyes! In Gremikha and Ostrovnoy, voentorg had seven or eight stores and I was the only artist. He worked from nine in the morning until six in the evening. And then – family and children. I did not have time to do my job.

Vinya is good, let’s kiss!

From Gremikha to Murmansk, Tarans brought an unusual pet – a fox. They named him Lisovin, for the arrangement of the hole they made in the balcony of a spacious apartment on Kirov Avenue. Vinia, as his family used to call him, had settled in and did not allow anyone to enter the hole, except Maria Afanasyevna. There are sugar bones in stock, but how can one wish for it?

Maria Taran’s husband, Valery Vasilyevich, brought the fox from the forest as a puppy for almost two weeks. Lisovin’s mother was killed by hunters, and he, hungry, frozen, alone, trembled in a rescue hole. Maria Afanasyevna, having met a tiny predator, first of all adjusted a winter glove to communicate with him – it turned out to be fur. The forest dweller bit and scratched, despite his tender age, be healthy! The first time I fed, as a child, from a pacifier. And then Vinya himself learned to eat – he would either steal refined sugar from a sugar bowl or even a chicken from the fridge! For these tricks, Lisovin was not reprimanded at home, they only provided kitchen cabinets with a refrigerator with reliable locks. But again he managed to steal something imperceptibly. As a teenager, he learned 30 words and above all he liked the phrases: “Vinya is good” and “Let’s kiss”!

At Gremikha, when Lisovin grew up and became stronger, and it was time for the Taran to move to Murmansk, they tried to free the fox that had become native to nature in the forest. They took him to the edge of the forest and let him look around, to understand what the air of freedom is. But in the morning, when they opened the door of the house, they saw the native face of the fox on the steps. And in the family council, it was decided to issue him a residence permit in Murmansk on the balcony of a high-rise building.

When the fox, who lived a happy life full of warmth and love, died, the whole Taranov family was very sad. But soon Maria Afanasyevna had three wonderful cats, two of which were found in the basement. And then – and the scanning of the forest, which the artist saved from starvation on the road.

All of them can also be called co-authors of Maria Afanasievna’s works, because her pets always give inspiration, a sense of warmth and comfort. And the artist generously shares them with the fans of her work.

My north

In the exhibition space of the city of Murmansk at 22 Oktyabrskaya Street there is a permanent exhibition of painting on leather “My North” (12+) created by Maria Taran. It is impossible not to be surprised by the spirit with which the artist inscribed the northern living creatures in her works: gulls, polar bears, hares, mice.

– Somehow I looked at the house from the window, from which you can see the ascent to Kapitan Maklakov Street. I liked it so much! – talks about how an idea is born, Maria Afanasievna. – This is how the image was born, where a polar bear rides a bicycle along this ascent and a seagull with a hat looks at it. And he seems to be saying with a look: “Yes, and I would ride! “Not everyone can fly.” These characters give life, the mood of Murmansk, a note of our northern humor in this image. While I was painting them, of course, they became my family. Besides, I go through everything through myself. I get used to the image I paint, with its characters. And during this time I manage to fall in love with them, to become part of the urban landscape, part of its mood, warmth and light.

Angelica KOVALEVA
Photo by the author and from the archive of Maria Taran

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