"How to find a way to paradise"- House of Polina Rayko
Polina Rayko was an ordinary peasant woman with a happy family and a modest income until everything began to go down in 1994. This is the story of how she tried to find a way to a life with less pain and suffering.
Polina Rayko was born in 1928 in Tsyuryupinsk in Ukraine not far from the Black Sea Coast. She married in 1950 and had two children. The family lived on simpler terms with modest income.
In 1994, her daughter died in an accident and a year later her husband too passed away. Her son took to drugs and was in and out of prison before his death in 2002.
In 1998, when Polina was 69 years old, she began to create paintings hoping to bring some brightness into her life. She was receiving a small pension amount which she salvaged to buy cheap paints and brushes from the nearest market. Soon she went on to paint her whole house- walls, ceilings, doors and even the tracks that led to the street. She had no T.V, magazines or regular access to newspapers so she drew her inspiration from water bottles and wine labels, a set of religious postcards and chocolate wrappers. She painted angels, animals, and portraits as well as decorative works; elements of Christian iconography, as well as Soviet propaganda, are all included.
In the course of the years, her work has become known, and although she was asked to make paintings in houses of other people, she never would earn much money with these activities.
In 2003 the local association Kherson Centre "Totem" became interested in her creations and took the initiative to produce a brochure about her life and work. However, before it could be published (in 2005), Polina Rayko died (January 15th, 2004).
A few years after her death a painted phrase was found on the garage door: “How to find a way to paradise…”