Art gallery news Nikolai Shmatko

Melania Trump: what was it that got Ukrainian sculptor attracted to her?

I think that her beauty and an extraordinary influence on Trump gave him extra encouragement in the fight for the White House.

He is neither a fortuneteller nor a psychic but he definitely can foresee world events. At the end of 2015, when America was preparing for elections, he looked at the candidates for the highest position in the country and immediately indicated that Donald Trump would become the next president of the United States. He made no mistake. Creation of a Carrara marble bust of Trump was a logical continuation of his attitude to this world figure. Next idea of Nikolai Shmatko was to create a sculpture of the US President's wife.

He compares Melania Trump with Nefertiti, with of pharaoh Akhenaten. Based on his immense creative potential he creates her bust of white Greek marble. What was it that attracted him in the US First Lady?

– As for the President of the United States Donald Trump – this is a big story of American reality and his ascent to Olympus is connected with Melania. I think that her beauty and an extraordinary influence on Trump gave him extra encouragement in the fight for the White House. Melania has become for Trump a pillar and a loyal friend in the crusade for the new America. Her erudition, openness, American loyalty and a great love of her family – all these qualities had their share in making the bust of the US First Lady.

– Why did you compare her to Nefertiti?

– Melania Trump has a charismatic personality. Her striking beauty may be compared to that of Nefertiti – an ancient Egyptian ideal of beauty. The fate of these two wonderful goddesses is similar in a way, although they are divided by thousands of years. Greek marble allowed revealing Melania's versatility and richness of her inner world. Today the First Lady has a lot of enviers but they will all disperse like fog and Melania Trump's marble bust will remain for many and many centuries ahead.

– In order to create this artwork you announced fundraising to purchase a piece of marble but at the end you bought it at your own expense. Are you in the habit of going all the way?

– One can talk a lot about Melania Trump but this would be an empty talk. I had a goal and was very willing to create a historically correct image of the US First Lady in marble. Donald and Melania Trump are links in the same chain like a stage of a new turn in American politics. Money was necessary in order to embody Melania's image in marble and I am not a well-off person, my pension is only $45. Besides, due to official's deception and a military conflict in the east of the country my family and the entire unique collection (sculptures, paintings and graphic works) are located at a school basement now – I call this place "a Ukrainian death basement". It was necessary to have $ 15 000 for this project. I used Twitter and Facebook to appeal to Americans but my idea didn't get any support. Then I decided to sell one thing dear to me and buy marble, so that I could have enough time to embody Melania Trump's image in marble by the anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration. I did it!

Her striking beauty may be compared to that of Nefertiti – an ancient Egyptian ideal of beauty.

– Media all around the world is trying to provide negative information about Trump's family looking only for negative things, while you supported him with your artwork. Are you not disappointed that you have dedicated you art to them now, when only negative information is in demand?

– Certainly a kind of instrument of nescience is hammering Trump and his family! It was paid by someone and this negative stuff was immediately spread all around the world. This product is in demand and most importantly it is a profit-making product. No, I do not regret. My son and I dedicated 2 years of our artistic careers to Trump.

– What is awaiting these artworks? What do your followers say? Would they like to see these busts in the USA?

– Marble busts were made as a gift to them. The bust of the US President Donald Trump is made of Carrara marble and that of the First Lady Melania Trump – of Greek marble. Now I am coming to a conclusion that Americans won't be able to see them due to a number of reasons. However, anything is possible.

– As far as I know, you had a big house and your own art gallery in Eastern Ukraine. Now you cannot go home due to the military conflict there – you became a hostage of circumstance. You have asked for an asylum at the embassies of several countries – are there any results?

– Yes, indeed, we approached embassies of different countries including the Embassy of the United States but did not get any answers so far. I understand the USA cannot accept us since it is necessary to provide finances for moving and find a place for the gallery. 1000 pieces of art work – can you imagine? We cannot go home because there is a war there. So now we are hostages of circumstance and I don't know how to get out of this cold basement…

Pereyaslav-Khmelnitskiy, 29.01.2018 (photos of Rafael Shmatko)

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