Matryoshka Nuns 4


Alejandra Valencia




Photography (ltd Edition Of 50)


50 x 35cm



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Artist Profile

Valencia’s exquisite work is inspired by some of the first Russian Matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls) carved by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by a Russian folk painter.

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Zvyozdochkin was moved to create the symbolic nested arrangement by ‘Fukuruma’ dolls from Honshu, the main island of Japan. These original Japanese ‘dolls’ depicted Buddhist monks and were produced for ritual use where they symbolised the layers of the human soul.

Valencia has incorporated some of this mysticism into her own artwork by painting the contemporary Matryoshka with the elusive and delicate figures of nuns.

In Russia the dolls became much more associated with fertility and motherhood. The name "Matryoshka" comes from the Russian word for mother, mat. A liberal interpretation of the term Matryoshka could be taken to mean "little mother." It is not uncommon to see a mother-like figure as the large doll with her children contained inside her.

The most common wood used for making Matryoshka dolls is lime and birch. Every piece goes through as many as 15 turning operations before being fashioned into a doll.

Valencia’s Matryoshka are carved using the same traditional process then painted in oils to depict jewel like female forms.

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