To start this new format #ArtistOfTheWeek, we decided to talk about Andrea Solaja. She impressed many of us in Artupia by her talent but also her story. From Serbia to Italia, we hope you'll enjoy discovering a bit more about this strong woman.
Andrea Solaja is a narrative artist, living in Trieste but originally from Serbia. Her style is realistic and she is renowned for using very dark and ominous color palettes.
Painting is Andrea's medium to express her feelings and communicate them to others. Andrea, and each one of her paintings has a remarkable story and they will undoubtedly touch you on an emotional level.
Can you tell us a bit more about you?
"My name is Andrea and I was born in Serbia, in a family where art was a hobby for everyone, including me. Painting will become a sort of therapy, a new way for me to communicate and express my feelings only later.
In fact, my life took a drastic turn on the 24th of March 1999 when bombing attacks started in Serbia. I was only 10 years-old, a terrified child in a scary world. This fear slowly poisoned me, building that mental wall, blocking my social interactions and marking for ever my childhood.
In 2004, my family decided to leave Serbia for Trieste; another hard blow for me: I had to adjust to a new language and a new environment. The only thing that didn't change was my crippling fear. Even though I was slowly isolating myself and shutting down, I knew I had to do something and make a change.
So I fought back! I worked hard at school despite of the language barrier, and I developed my drawing skills, and participated to contests. It brought me a lot of satisfaction and I could see and feel myself opening up more and more each day. Even though I still couldn't talk about what I endured during the war in Serbia, I knew I was making progress."
What was the turning point for you?
"The turning point for me was in 2014. I was taking an Animation Class with a very talented professor and he suggested that I write my master's thesis about my past life and the war in Serbia.
He didn't give up: "Draw it." - so I did.
That's how I created "Cinque Petali" (Five petals in English), an animated movie illustrating my fears, sadness and anger. This was a true internal liberation for me. That's how I understood that painting was my way to free my soul.
I started painting in a serious way, using dark colors as if the light was sealed on the inside and protected from any harm. I started to tell stories and convey my feelings, depicting especially the female body."
What are your main subjects and inspirations?
"Of course I don't paint only about my trauma! We all need to move on in life! I'm passionate about Greek mythology and history. One of the most breathtaking pieces of art for me is 7 Virtù, a series painted by Botticelli.
Andrea's favorite quote:
Next week, we'll talk about one specific painting by Andrea, When the night comes - One light, One soul.