Natalie Kiri, Valentina Conchie, Valeria Eliseyeva
Natalie Kiri, Valentina Conchie, Valeria Eliseyeva

Curated by Valentina Conchie, EVE is a captivating art experience that celebrates the multifaceted nature of women. Executed by female artists, living and working in Singapore, this thought-provoking series explores the diverse embodiments of women, shedding light on their unique stories, struggles and strengths.

Through the lens of a female photographer, this project delves deep into the womanhood, capturing the essence of femininity in all its forms. From the quiet strength of a mother nurturing her child to the creative energy of a female artist, the sexuality of a young woman discovering her identity to the evolution of relationships with a special second half. EVE showcases the spectrum of emotions and moments that define the female experience.

Valentina, please tell us how did you meet the other members of the project?

All being from post Soviet space we speak one language and circulate in the same community. A mutual friend introduced us to each other.

Natalie with her work “Autumn in Her Eyes”
Natalie with her work “Autumn in Her Eyes”

I was immediately captivated by Natalie’s creativity, she had a lot of fresh ideas. Being a sought-after brand photographer she steadily gravitates towards the Art. You can see an example of her pure art project in one of the rooms in Joo Chiat where she depicts the unity between nature and human world, vegetation grows from bodies and turn women into flowers. Natalie was and is incredibly generous, conducting multiple photo sessions for me. In fact my profile photo and most of the gallery photos on my website are made by Natalie. Together we worked on an incredible project about my biggest painting to date, Nadya & Ben, creating a fantasy visual narrative for it which is due to be published. I can guarantee, you will love it!

As of Valeria, first time we met was at Art SG last year which is symbolic really. We spent the whole day together looking at incredible high quality art, legendary names and it felt so natural, like we knew each other for ages. That’s what Valeria’s art is about, being natural, capturing everyday moments and making them look special, creating magic from everyday life. It’s a rare gift and an exceptional talent. I am very grateful to Valeria for introducing me to Maral Klycheva, an artist, teacher and a dear friend. And finally, Valeria told me how to keep my back straight naturally, when I am being photographed which is absolutely invaluable!

Valeria in her photography process
Valeria in her photography process

Now, I’d like to know a bit more about each of you. Please tell us a few words about your background, your way into art and your current practice.

Valentina: Visual artist, curator, and an active member of the Singapore Art Community I call Singapore home for the last 9 years. Originally from Moscow, Russia, I graduated from Medical School, and moved to Singapore together with my family nine years ago. I always loved Art but it was never consistent, drawing from time to time in between working hours, scribbling in the notebooks around the sentences, on the napkins in the restaurants. It’s the move to Singapore with its lush vibrant greenery and peaceful demeanour that made me think about Art again. I attended few art classes, in NAFA and My Art Space, they helped me to move into a habit of creating again. I started experimenting with mediums and formats and the rest is the history.

My Art aesthetics are characterised by bold colour combinations, repetitive patterns, and distinctive portraits that blend figurative style with elements of Art Nouveau and Pop Art. Across my practice I use multiple techniques such as mixed media painting, intuitive collage, digital, film photography and AI.

Valeria: I am a family and portrait photographer, based in Singapore. Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, I grew up surrounded by inspiring paintings created by my grandfather, Valentin Kosenko, a well-known artist in Ukraine. I spent my school years in Germany, then moved to Netherlands and then Los Angeles to get a degree in business followed by work in a consulting industry. Then my way led me to Moscow where I built my family. Becoming a mother inspired me to explore the works of family photographers from Odessa and St. Petersburg, I was captivated. Three years ago, when my family relocated to Singapore, I finally allowed myself to become a professional full-time photographer.

My work today focuses on women, motherhood, and intimacy, characterised by its naturalness and minimal post-production, capturing everyday moments that exude warmth. I have a strong portfolio on PhotoVogue, with works covering topics of maternity, female portraits, and nature. I enjoy depicting femininity and have a substantial amount of female portraits. My focal point is on human and female beauty surrounded by landscapes and cityscapes.

Natalie: Fashion and portrait photographer, I have been living in Singapore for four years. I started my photography career in Vladivostok, Russia and since then I’m exploring the multifaceted world of visual art. It was in Singapore when I realised, that being a photographer is my true passion and endless journey of exploring everyone and everything thought the lens of the camera. Photography allows me to express my unique perspective on beauty and aesthetics inspired by people, nature, fashion, and art. As a visual artist, I don’t strictly follow a specific style, as each photo project requires its unique approach and techniques. A significant part of my work consists of black and white photographs with an individual twist. Playing with light and shadows, using the long exposure effect, my black and white photos allow me to add mystical beauty and understatement to my works. I find inspiration in icons like Richard Avedon, Saul Leiter, Lillian Bassman, Steven Meisel, Paolo Roversi, Nick Knight. In my free time I enjoy visiting galleries, making videos, play tennis, and travelling to different countries to explore their culture.

Valentina with the artist Malini Nathan, artwork “Warmth” at the background
Valentina with the artist Malini Nathan, artwork “Warmth” at the background

“To me, Malini is the epitome of wisdom – always calm, generous and kind. Her beauty radiates from the inside out. I feel both joy and serenity when I talk to her, which is a rare gift. I experience the same feelings when I view her art, which features many elements from nature, evoking calm reflection and a sense of interconnectedness between humans and nature.” Valentina

Tell us about project EVE. What were your inspirations and the technical aspects involved in it.

Valentina: For EVE, I have returned to the intuitive collage technique. I am a long time fan of this medium. In fact, that’s the technique I started with when I decided to seriously pursue art. This time I’ve ventured into the digital realm using multiple pieces of my own photography taken locally in Singapore, including scenery, landmarks, plants, textures, paint tests on paper, cutouts from newspapers and elements of Al-generated images. All of these elements are combined into a collage and are topped off with spray paint patterns. The main characters of this project are the artists I personally know and am inspired by their art and personalities.

My hope is to evoke a sense of relatability, primarily in the person depicted in the artwork because it is created for them and about them. As for the spectators, I hope they will be encouraged to learn more about the featured artists, their biographies and art to better understand the works.

Natalie: I am deeply honoured to be part of this Art Project celebrating the diverse nature of women. Photographing women provides me with the opportunity to highlight the individuality and uniqueness of each individual. My works for the EVE depict mystical dimensions of women, those keeping secrets and posing questions. Each and every photograph uncovers exceptional strength, beauty, confidence, and finesse, all contributing to the portrayal of the mysterious world of femininity.

Valeria: EVE depicts women at different transformational stages and I am thrilled to be able to contribute to this topic with my works. At the photoshoots I evidence different faces of love. Passionate love, tender love towards your partner, pure love to children and finally self-love. These stages define the female life experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to display these aspects through my art.

In your opinion what is art? What is the role that art and artists play in the society?

Valentina: Art is everything, we are surrounded by art in the everyday scenery. If you open your mind to this idea you will start seeing inspiration literally everywhere and your view of the world will change. Anything a person creates is Art. That is why I absolutely detest negative comments about anyone’s art, any art that is created has the right to exist, it is human expression, it is therapy, it is energy, thought and positive charge, that what we all need like air. If I could, I would place David Shrigley’s work “Art will save the world” on every big screen in every city. Because art is a universal language, it has good intentions in its core, it has no borders and it unites people.

And artists are the messengers of the Art into the world. I am not talking only about professional artists, I am talking about all the people who create, paint, do digital art, film, make music, dance, the list is long.

Valeria: Art is a powerful tool, enriching our life, removing borders and allowing us to immerse into different worlds in the process of creation. Art is the way to discover the world, some of us have better perception through hearing others through visualising. However, it is not always easy to expose yourself, understand and feel the art if it is not taught extensively at school and if it is not supported as subject by all the stakeholders.

Natalie: I really believe that art is a way to share your perspective with others. It’s meaningful for society, sparking creativity, reflecting culture, and making us think. It acts as a bridge between the past, present, and future. When we come across a powerful piece of art, it connects with our emotions, grabs our attention, and can even change our thoughts or lives. These emotions can be positive or negative, strong or subtle. If a piece of art makes you pause, it means it has done its job. When I pick up my camera, I always think about the story I want to tell my audience and the emotions I want to evoke. To me, photography is an amazing way to express myself that goes beyond language, speaking through the images I capture.

Natalie with her artwork “World of Aymée”
Natalie with her artwork “World of Aymée”

What are your future plans and projects?

Valentina: I am working on several projects at the moment. A new series of digital works which similarly to EVE will feature artists. The concept of this series will be different but I will leave it a surprise. I continue working on my bright portrait works, this time I draw from the idea of convergence of East & West, which I believe is something that our world needs and it is going to happen. To visualise this notion I introduce traditional motives and images familiar to everyone. Another exciting artwork to be finished is waiting for me at Barry Yeow’s Studio where he expands my skillset and teaches me to look at the art from various angles. I am also nurturing a concept that I will lay out on a large canvas, the image is crystal clear in my head and it will display my view of the world, I just need to find time to jump on it. In January I am curating a new show in Crane Joo Chiat, dedicated to the essential issue of the current times which is Sustainability. This show is included in The Singapore Art Week program and I am very excited to be able to add urgency to this meaningful topic. And last but not least, from 1st to 3rd of December, together with the fellow artists, I will be showing my prints at Selegie Arts Centre, I am looking forward to spend some time in the company of the friendly creatives and hope to see many of you there, this will be fun.

Valeria: I incorporate a lot of Singaporean scenery in my photography, not only using it as an ambience for my creative projects but also keeping it for my future memories if and when I leave Singapore.
I am working on several Singapore themed artworks at the moment. Predominantly involving women. Capturing various stages of life, experiences and emotions that come with them. This work requires knowledge of individual psychological aspects and I plan to explore these topic in more detail. Form and volume are two other important aspects I’d like to focus on in my upcoming projects.

Natalie: I am currently nurturing several art projects, each of them taking an experimental approach. Recently, during The Affordable Art Fair, I had the opportunity to encounter the works of an Indonesian artist named Riz. This experience has inspired me to create a new art project and I am working on it at the moment.

Valeria with her works “You are all I want” and “Precious Gift”
Valeria with her works “You are all I want” and “Precious Gift”

Where can we see some of your work and are they for sale? Do you accept commissions? What is the working process when clients want to approach you for a commission?

Valentina: You can see my works on my website, Instagram and of course you can write to me, I would love to answer your questions. I accept commissions, both for painting and photography based works. It is very important for me to talk to a person before I do it, ideally to meet or do a zoom call to be able to create a work that a person can connect to and feel relatable. I love to create works that will be talking to a person commissioning them, they will include details meaningful to that particular individual. At the same time, I prefer to decide on the design and appearance of the work myself, I will consider comments on colour palette but I won’t do alterations.

Natalie: I typically showcase my artistic endeavours on various social media platforms, with a particular focus on Instagram. The platform provides me with a dynamic space to share the evolution of my projects and engage with a diverse audience. Presently, I am working on multiple art projects, each filled with an experimental spirit, and I am excited to announce that these works will soon be made available for purchase. Stay tuned for updates on my social media channels for exclusive insights into the creative process and details on acquiring these pieces.

Valeria: You can find my work on my social media, my Instagram and my website.
I don’t sell my photographs yet, but I offer photo sessions and mentorship. While of course I am happy to take commissions, on an individual basis, for me more important is to meet interesting and inspiring people and network, create relationships and exchange ideas. This is critical for an artist as it helps to understand the intention behind every work and helps to become more creative and to better capture feelings of characters and depict their special moments.

The Art Project EVE, view of the walls

Are there any artists who have inspired you on the contemporary art scene?

Valentina: Contemporary art scene is so vibrant, it is a hard job to try to pick up just a few, but I will try. In contemporary photography my endless admiration goes to Alain Laboile and his way to create deeply moving scenes from everyday life; he is a true magician. My favourite art style is surrealism, works that make me reflect and bend the mind truly fascinate me. Elena Sheidlina is a vivid example of modern day surrealist artist combining amazing ideas and contemporary mediums to create magic. I love childishness and pure joy in the works of Robert Nava and mystique combined with fairy tailing in Marcel Dzama’s creations. And I already mentioned above David Shrigley who is a modern day genius, creating visual stamps that strike you right in the head.

Valeria: I get inspiration from numerous artists. Kulesza & Pik live and create in Paris, inspiring me with their knowledge of form, volume and colour. In Singapore, recently I discovered Rachel Loh and I am impressed with her creative direction, ideas, and work with female body.

Natalie: My artistic inspiration draws from both traditional and contemporary photographic artists. Among them, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Kazimir Malevich, and Jackson Pollock, whose contributions have left an indelible mark on the art world. As of contemporary artists, I find profound inspiration in the mystical works of Zorikto Dorzhiev, whose art resonates deeply with my creative sensibilities. Exploring the diverse influences of these artists enriches my own artistic journey, shaping the unique blend of perspectives that I bring to my work.

Artworks from The Art Project EVE

If you were to name one mentor who has inspired you in your life and path as an artist, who would that be?

Valentina: Art is my main mentor. I get very strong feelings when I see a good piece of art, art that speaks to me. And I am very grateful to all genuine people who helped and keep helping me, my husband and the rest of my family of course.

Natalie: Much of the credit for my passion is owed to the photographer Alexander Medvedev, who has served as my mentor. Under his guidance, I gained a profound understanding of the significance of art in photography. His mentorship equipped me with fundamental knowledge, enabling me to navigate my creative path and discover an array of styles in photography.

Valeria: My first teacher, Julia Pleskachevskaya initiated my move into photography. Four years ago, she inspired me to work with fatigued mothers, emphasising the capture of their inner beauty and natural grace in their everyday activities, such as breastfeeding. Her guidance laid the foundation for my journey as a photographer, shaping my perspective and approach to celebrating the authentic moments in the lives of those I capture through my lens.

EVE set up process. Video credit to Natalie Kiri

Conclusion:

We all really enjoyed working on this project together, it allowed us to show our own individual point of view while integrating it into a united concept that we all can relate to. It was a special experience of collaboration, connection and sharing to create mutual benefit and meaningful idea. We are looking forward to work on the projects together in the future and we’ve proven to be a great team.

For more on Valentina’s art, click the links below:

Website: https://vibrantcuckoo.com
Instagram: @vibrantcuckoo

For more on Natalie’s art, click the links below:

Website: https://photoart1one.com/
Instagram: @natalie.kiri

For more on Valeria’s art, click the links below:

Website: www.valeriaeliseyevaphotography.com 
Instagram: @valeriaeliseyeva_photography

Art Project EVE is located at Crane Joo Chiat, 285 Joo Chiat Rd,
427535 and will be available from 1st to 27th November 2023

Opening hours from 9 am to 6 pm

For more on exclusive interviews and featured art pieces, click here.



-->