Mariam Sofrina

September 2022

KuBa and I met accidentally. As a longtime „Germanophile“, visiting Germany for the first time was a milestone. I went to KuBa looking for the landscapes in my dreams, Germany being my subconscious „second“ culture. I didn’t even care about whom I would meet there, I only felt the urge to go after so many years of longing, so the connections between KuBa, its people and nature and me was a delightful surprise.

Painting is my trade, and my methods are pretty conventional to be truthful. I stick to the norms and techniques that were established and focus on whatever I can find to perfect my art. Several of my artistic heroes were Germans, most of them were landscape painters, so I was feeling like I needed to experience the land and the atmosphere like they used to. I wasn’t really looking for anything specifically new, just curious how it feels to paint in the forest and feel the breeze, clearing my head so that I could absorb every sensation. Art trips to Berlin that I made and subsequent visits to museums in Vienna have strengthened my understanding of what is fundamental to traditional Western painting.

Although it is important for me that I never put moving objects or people in my paintings, people always played a huge part in my learning process and I was astonished with the spiritual connections I felt with the owners Sharon and Mika and all the people in the neighborhood. I didn’t expect to meet a whole lot of Jewish community there, which was a great chance to expand my perception, although the then-ongoing Documenta complications made me anxious at first. But then all the political difficulties between our worlds seemed to never exist when I started to interact with them all, which is funny in a way.

My stay in KuBa, the forests and the seemingly never ending fields, the cold summer, the smell of cooking that leaked through the windows every time I passed a village on bike, the flatness of the land, the apple and plum trees, the fragrance of the air, the curious local spirits I encountered both in dreams and awakened state, the people and the art they made, the „haunted“ old station and the tremble I felt every time a train passed by, all have sharpened my previous dreams and imaginations at home and now becoming a fuel for me to find some new possibilities within contemporary landscape genre.