The words on the blank paper sheet. How strange and new it is for me. My creativity does not demand words, my material is metal which can exist forever. However, manuscripts do not burn as well…. But nevertheless I will try, though burin is much more customary than a pen.
The world of the past has become much more real than the today's one for me, and while creating my own images, I have got used to address them to spectators and archeologists of the future. Therefore what am I to say to a reader of today? I wish he should not judge me strictly if I don't tell much about my works, let the works speak about themselves. I will not philosophize with unclear wordsas the art critics would address each other, and being guided by an old rule: «clearly conceiving clearly states», I will write with simple words about the way which has brought me today to these pages.
I had no troublesome search of my own way. I have always known that it was the artist that I would become. I remember questions which I would ask all the adults at the age of five: «What is the mound and what lies there? What is the name of the small shining dipper in the sky? Pleiads? What a beautiful word! Why don't we have the ancient cities, well at least any rock with ancient signs?».
And every summer I searched for the images on stones in the mountains. Once my father took me to a beautiful place by Maikop with the sketchbook. Having painted a small study, I paid attention to a rock behind me – the huge space of a pliable material – sandstone of cream shade was easily scratched with the knife which was always by hand. I got as high as it was possible, and did not notice, how fast the day has flown, the sun has burnt my hands but when I got down, it took my breath away – my picture on the rock looked like a real antiquity.
I cut out the girl, looking out of the window with arc and columns, a deep relief in full size. When my father came to take me and I said: «Daddy, look over there, at the rock». He was amazed and would repeat all the time: «But there was nothing over there in the morning»… After that he began to concern my desire to change everything around very seriously, and I grew in confidence that the internal world should by all means be displayed in the external one. And as there always dwelt a fairy-tale in my soul the world around me always had to be full of elves and gnomes, water falls, babbling brooks, pools, wood thickets, castles with watch towers. All that I wanted to make immediately with my own hands out of the banal house with a garden, where potatoes, lilacs, and a row of daffodils under the window were planted.
Many years later my father, sitting the other day by the pool of my today’s yard, said: «Indeed, you have really done everything what you have dreamt about as a child, but I kept regarding it for child's imagination. Probably I should have listened to you, and maybe life would have turned out quite differently. But your child is growing up in a completely different world. How could you foresee it?»
It is not that I foresaw thay, but just could do what I really liked. As a result, I grew up a loner - in spite of my communicative skills. I understood it early that the best friends were books, and I dragged them in a schoolbag, read during the lessons and breaks. And I was drawing all the time. At nights I would get on the roof with the star chart to find constellations. However I met no one interested in all this as well, but it never disappointed me. I had my own world, my own Ecumene beyond time and space and I observed everything through my own parallel universe. Probably it was regarded as the pink glasses by the others and they would often advise me to remove them. And now we call our house and yard a parallel universe, and everyone who comes to our place, perceives it quite the same way.
Still, my way to creativity with all my confidence and feeling that someone directs me, was quite flowery.
My grandmother, with whom I grew up, was a famous storyteller, and the writers and reporters would visit us and sit by her with microphones for hours and I would do some crafts nearby and listen as well. She kept in memory all the Nart epos in verse form with all the interpretations and intoned these texts in a very interesting way that reminded nowadays rap. Besides, she knew all kinds of fairy-tales and songs. They wrote books and set plays on the basis of her stories. And she remembered the genealogies of several related families, and we would paint the family tree, retelling stories about the origin of surnames over and over again. She told me that Eutykh is Groony (Greeks), who sailed to the Caucasian coast where people still call Eutykh Groony. And in the 90's the travelers’ notes were published from the archives of the Lenin Library, and I learnt that in 374 BC the family of goldsmiths Eutykh from the left bank of the river Hipanis (Kuban river), was taken to Athens to work on the construction of the temple. But my grandmother knew it without the archives. It makes one admire how these people without any written language kept the memory of millennia carefully giving it to every new generation.
And my grandmother chose me out of nine grandchildren, having given me the name before birth and having predicted the future. She carefully told me everything she knew – it was the ability to sew traditional clothing, to spin, embroider with gold. And also, the elements of everyday magic: the fortune telling with beans, weather forecasting and even secrets of manufacturing the gunpowder of various sorts, of gold refining … My grandfather was a gunsmith jeweler, but unfortunately he died before my birth. However, the grandmother, who was very inquisitive, told me all the tricks he had used in every detail, and even gave me his tools.
I was only eleven years old when my grandmother Kadyrhan Paku passed away, and I inherited her gold embroidery, hats, silver belts, jewelry, and tools. The most important was the thing that she has sown in the soul of the little girl got on the noble soil and developed in a serious desire to learn everything that the ancestors could do and come up with something, that has never been created before.
Certainly, it didn’t do without musical and choreographic school which was the part of my grandmother's education canons; besides the girl was taught how to stay in the saddle and to use arms, to which I subsequently devoted a lot of days, having had an original school of survival.
But, anyway, my life track that curled around the fine arts led me to the classical education at the Faculty of Arts and Graphics. Fortunately the One who directed me led me not to the big city but the small town of three streets by the confluence of two turbulent rivers, beyond which rose the rocky ridges of amazing beauty surrounding the town from all sides. A white spot on the rocks was the Byzantine church with wild clove and thyme on its roof. It became one of my favorite places. During the day I was drawing, and at night I would come there, climb up the roof by the half-destroyed wall, and stayed there all the night through, inhaling the aromas of herbs, infused in the sun, gazing at the stars and feeling that very amazing wind, which I called the wind of peaks, listening to my heart, trying to understand my mission and catch the precise point when the breath turns into exhalation, and the future becomes the past, and where it hides, and how it can be interpreted ...
But the most valuable thing is that I was there alone: no one climbed the mountains at night, the students ventured nothing more than to get to the first terrace, make a fire and to sing to the guitar. Therefore I was the sovereign mistress of all the peaks and spent there many amazing dawns and sunsets, and there was no bad weather for me – it was beautiful there any time of the year. And the most important thing is that it was exactly there where I learnt not to be afraid of anything, in other words – developed a strong fearless spirit, found myself the way the monks do it leaving for a long time for asceticism. I write about all this because for me the unity with the nature, when you feel a part of the cliff, when the abyss is below you, twinkling with the city lights, above is the eternity of shining stars - is the most important knowledge of harmony, which I received from nature. Once as a child I read the words of Leonardo da Vinci, that the supreme teacher was the nature, and I was not looking for other teachers.
The “classical” studies were very easy for me. I got excellent marks very easily, could miss as much lessons as I wanted, having arranged the plain air, and then to complete the course project within a night. After the first class the Professor of Sculpture announced that I had the gift for sculpture and gave me the keys of the studio, which became another favorite place of mine where I spent days and nights and molded everything from the Lorelei to a milkmaid with a pail (another diploma project for a fifth-year student).
Three years have passed and the other day, sitting on the top of a temple, I realized that my favorite wind of peaks had taken another direction, and something was calling me beyond the horizon, and my time came, as the time comes to a bird to change its nest. I remembered my grandmother’s saying: "What your eyes have seen is the price of your head." I realized that there hardly was anyone to take my place during the cold nights on the rocks and I would always be able to come back and maybe some day I wouldn’t be alone to climb the top of the house, and this person would by all means be an unusual one, and we would observe the stars and tell him where the Future comes from and where the Past is hidden, but this is already a different story…
So I entered another high school, where I studied the same easy way, travelled a lot, studied again, then travelled again. And my eyes beheld so many museums, sculptures and architecture, that my grandmother would have been satisfied. Finally the search of my place led me to Dagestan, and when I melt the metal myself and made the filigree ball, studded with grains, I was delighted how easily, as if to himself yielded this stuff to me. And I realized that it was exactly what would never bother me to deal with, and that very night the dream I had seen hundred times since my childhood revealed its secret. I had one and the same dream all the time: there was a beautiful highland in front of me, and on one of the rocks one could see a castle, I was trying to find a way to the castle, and every time there were some obstacles arising. Then, when I began to study the fine arts, I began to get to the castle, entered it, but it was so great that I roamed either through some underground cells, or some long passages. Every time the castle would be a little bit different: either light or dark, sometimes it would even ruin, but I could never find its main hall, and then, after I had started to use the torch, I dreamt I was entering the bright central hall through the grand staircase, the fire blazing in the huge fireplace, and I saw my filigree pendant on the marble. Then, in Dagestan, I was infinitely happy. The thread of my lineage, my grandmother’s predictions and my searches were linked into one single chain.
At last I returned to my homeland. Having collected everything that remained from my grandfathers and grandmothers I founded my first workshop. I started with what I had learnt in Dagestan, with filigree, and then I got interested in more antique stuff - from late Middle Ages to the early ones, from the antiquity to the Scythians and Meotians and further to the Maikop culture. And then finally it became clear why I had studied the culture so long, and that everything was in the very beginning, when one summer evening the father took his five-year-old daughter along the flourishing street to the famous Maikop mound "Oshad" and told at length about the leader that had been buried there, about he canopy, studded with walking lions, about the gold and silver smiling oxen, and was talking until the stars lit up the sky, and in my childish imagination there was the mound - such as it was thousands years ago… And the same very stars were shining, one could smell the herbs after a hot day, but people were destroying this beauty for some reason. But this is a different story as well.
As to the technologies, we revealed all the secrets together with Ruslan, studying books, archaeological ceramics, toreutics, jewellery, and the abundance of antiquities, which are so magically attracted to our house. And our house became a repository of a great number of books, tools, vessels, the fireplace chains, mills and even mammoth bones. This is the house I have always wanted to have.
Talking about the ancient masterpieces – admirable are those, which besides their beauty still convey the deepest sense, and are every time revealed in a different way, telling about the mysteries of the universe and time, when they had been created.
And there is no accidental whorl or character in my works, they all stand for something. In the drawings very often there are jokes hidden and always the God of time present, but I never tell everything about my work, guided by the principle: “the speaking one doesn’t know, the one being aware doesn’t speak.
But the main thing is that they bear no aggression, and they perform the harmony and joy – the very joy that fills our parallel universe and it is occasional that our visitor can drink mysterious drink out of silver rhyton or hold a acinaces sword and remember something lost long ago, or forget something forever.
The fact that I address my creations to the future will be clear to all the artists, dealing with the metal – when the work is almost complete, acquires the unfamiliar shiny appearance and starts its own life, one realizes that it is all the same for the shine of the metal whether one year is reflected in it or thousand of years…