I gave the taxi driver a good tip, only slightly thrown off my balance about the time growing short for me. I was welcomed by my hosts from Gallery ч9, Glafira and Ivan, whom I had already met in Archangelsk, and Mariia, the owner of the cozy artist studio where I will be staying for a month. It is very central, the Polyarnye Zori street, situated in an old-fashioned house with creaky stairwell and little nooks on the landing for smoking; there are no fire alarms, how refreshing. The flat has a bath and a view over Murmansk backyards, and it feels like I can breathe here; the floors are blue and the walls teal or painted with blackboard paint, the possibilities to draw on them. It is in a building where all the top floors are dedicated solely to artists, what a good idea. But! just for artists from the Artists’ Union. Mariia just got accepted to the Artists Union! Congratulations, as it seems like quite a feat to achieve, with bureaucratic procedures reaching to Moscow, where one has to bring framed works and sculptures all the way to the capital and defend them in front of a committee, and then leave in silence and let them and your artistic future be discussed by the big official artists. There will be a party to celebrate Mariia’s success. Internet is set up, and I feel like this month has to be productive (not because of the internet, but because of the people, and the welcoming.) Then we go and drink beer next door with neighbour artist Anastasija – she is also a member of the Artists Union. Everyone is so friendly and there are piroshky with cabbage for vegetarians.
It’s minus 15 degrees outside. But it feels quite warm.