Sveta Dorosheva is an Ukrainian born artist now residing in Israel. Though she is well regarded in both Russia and Romania as a children’s illustrator, a quick glance at her work reveals the maturity that lay under the whimsical surface of it all. Skilled at drawing, Dorosheva uses traditional materials to produce images whose aesthetic is playful, fun and influenced by the world of fairytales and Through The Looking Glass, which makes them a pleasure to look and smile at. Look close enough though and you’ll find your smile turning to concerned concentration.
Life in Shanghai is a perfect example why. These images of Chinese life stick to Dorosheva’s preferred use of traditional material. Holding true to the culture she is turning her artistic eye towards here, she illustrates the entire series with brushes, on rice paper, using Chinese ink. The signature, fairytale illustrator style is there in every image but looking closely at the subtext, you find Dorosheva’s commentary on the life in Shanghai in each piece. The connecting thread from illustration to illustration is the idea of exploitation of tradition, the sinking into the background of the old and the idea that in places with as much history as the Eastern nations hold, we are simply children playing in the court of the spirits. Of a natural order that predates us and watches over us and might even be a little pissed. Some of these messages are more overt than others, like the drawing of kitchen workers sitting in front of traditional lattice work while they all stare down into their phones, completely blind to the world around them. Others are more subtle, such as the piece where a group of young women pass under a presumably ancient tree. It is shedding leaves over head, one can imagine it is shedding its wisdom and natural beauty for the women but, because they all hold umbrellas, none of them are able to receive nature’s ancient gift.
The entire series is emblematic of Sveta Dorosheva’s work and magically distills all of the things that make her a captivating artist who deserves the attention she has received and so much more.