When applying for a residency program I was determined to travel with my family. The idea of leaving my five and two-year-old for an extended period of time was difficult for me to accept. TAiR’s program in Tartu, Estonia has provided my family of four with the opportunity to live and work abroad, residency.tartuensis.com Our days have consisted of inspirational moments and persistent tantrums, but overall, it has been an experience I would never take back.
Our arrival in Tallinn’s Old Town felt equivalent to stepping off the Polar Express. We spent the evening exploring the Christmas Market with mulled wine, dumplings, and a carousel. I was relieved to have survived the 20-hour travel day. Surprisingly both boys handled the flights well, but the jet lag to follow lasted a week longer than anticipated. It’s impossible to convince a toddler to rest or stay awake. At 2 A.M. Foster ran laps, turned on lights, and babbled about the moon. Jonah ate lunch in the kitchen.
My favorite part of the trip has been wandering around the city alone. I can’t stop taking images of the renovated doors, street art, graffiti, and the bold pastels. The history of the country was something I researched, but didn’t realize the gravity of till seeing the Soviet architecture and talking with locals. Estonians are working to remove the presence of the Soviet Era but the evidence remains.
I have been privileged to form a friendship with Bita Razavi, a fellow artist-in-residence. Her knowledge of this city has enlightened my work and understanding of the layers behind this culture. If you are interested in learning about her career visit, bitarazavi.com
She is a kind and brave woman studying the renovation of spaces from the Soviet era and then transforming those spaces.
Without a car and the difficulties of the language barrier it took a week to collect my materials. This is something I assumed would be simple. Needless to say, I can’t stop painting. I am preparing for an exhibition consisting of 12 pieces on canvas and one interior wall painted in the exhibition space.