We regret to inform all connoisseurs of art brut and outsider art that Roza Zharkikh (born in 1930), one of the most well-known art brut artists from Russia, died in March 2015.
photos © Mario Del Curto
Roza was a lonely eccentric woman who had a unique vision of the world. To be more precise, she lived in her “alternative” universe full of fantasy and visions. Sophisticated images derived from this universe were transformed by Roza in numerous drawings and wonderful embroideries which covered the walls of her small, humble apartment. She turned her quarters in the “portal” that gave her a chance to preserve fragile balance between living inside and outside society and official culture.
That is why it was extremely difficult to discover Roza as artist – she lived and created inside her hand-made “shell”, free of yearning for glory and for associating with art environment. We were fortunate to get to know Roza as a visionary artist in 1996, 20 years after she started to create, doing it solely for herself, and we were surprised by both the quality of her work and her unique vision. Her indifference about public recognition helped her to avoid irrelevant influence – she did not let the outer world violate the privacy of her inner world and creative process.
We had a profound respect for Roza’s feelings and aspiration for creativity in loneliness – we never advised her and minimised our “outside” influence. Unfortunately, this intentional “distance” has the “other side of the coin” – the artist died as she lived – absolutely alone, plunged in her dreams...
A few months after her death, we remember Roza as an outstanding creator whose works were exhibited all over the world from the USA to Japan, from North Europe to South Africa. Her wonderful embroideries and drawings are included in such collections as the collection of the Moscow Museum of Outsider Art (temporarily removed to Bar, Montenegro), Collection de l’Art Brut, (Lausanne) and private collections.