‘Two Ninas’ by Nina Don

“This is me and my grandma. When I was little, I used to spend every summer in her wee country house.

She always wanted a daughter, but had two sons. When I appeared, she became the happiest grandmother in the world. She was strict sometimes, but always kind — always happy — and she never complained. We would watch soap operas together and discuss the characters, and sometimes swim in the lake, collect berries, play cards, or water the garden together.


She was my best friend. She was called Nina — just like me. Every night before we went to sleep, she would tell me stories of her life. Every night, I asked her to repeat those stories again and again. She would speak to me honestly about real things, without avoiding any topics – like adults normally do — and that was so important for me. We had a cat called Murka, and she always sat beside the two of us on the steps as we relaxed after a long day in the sun together.

My grandma had breast cancer. Every morning and every night, she would pray for us and for others. It’s nearly fifteen years since she died, but I still feel our connection — our love. She inspires me still.”

Nina Don is a multimedia artist and art teacher. After graduating from high school in 2006, she went to the Moscow University of Culture and Art (MGPU) to complete a six-year full-time taught degree. During this period, she was able to experiment with different materials and explore various media and techniques, such as: mosaic, wool felting and stained glass. Her interest was primarily captured by ceramics and she became a member of the hand-building ceramic studio in Moscow. A number of her pieces have been exhibited in the Exhibition Centre, Central House of the Artist, and the Darvin Museum, among others. 

In 2012, she obtained her university title as Specialist Artist in Decorative Art with a Specialty in Ceramics. After a year of working as an art teacher, she enrolled as a Masters student in Art Education with the same university — graduating in 2015 with a specialty in collective artwork.

From 2010 until present, she has been working as an art teacher in the Cultural Centre with children between the ages of three and sixteen – organizing art workshops for both children and adults. In the summer of 2016, she stayed in Glasgow, visiting friends, painting landscapes and exploring the area. She is in love with Scottish culture, people and nature, and hopes to come back this year. 

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