The Nation

2004, Acrylic on Canvas, Size: 51 x 39

One dreadful year, my wife was partially paralyzed from a stroke and endured open-heart surgery. During her recovery, we moved to our summer studio just outside of Moscow. The local authorities paid us a corrupt visit one day – I explained that my wife had been recently released from the hospital and was dependant upon my care. They demanded to see the paperwork and as I went inside to gather the documents, the authorities cut my electrical wires. In outrage, I warned them that my wife’s medications required refrigeration. They responded with sly smiles and cuffs around my wrists. The scene was despicable – behind me was my immobile wife and in front of me was the jail cell at the local police station. I sued the government, and was vindicated two years later when I finally won the case. At one point during this ordeal, I had a bizarre encounter with a stray cat. I told him what happened and he began to rub against my leg, as if to say, “I understand it all and I agree with you completely.” I immediately went home and painted The Nation. With no electricity, I painted by candlelight. This image has become a symbol of sorts – a sign of resistance to the homeland, the community, the nation.