Inna Petrashkevich lives in a small town of Orsha in Belarus. A small town in a small Eastern European country. One of those towns untouched and unspoiled by civilization. Time has slowed down in Orsha, and the 21st century feels like the 18th.
Yet, Orsha was founded in 1067, making it one of the oldest towns in Belarus. The town was a witness to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 15th century, one of the first Calvinist (Protestant) orders in the 16th century, and the large Jewish settlement in the 16th and on. The Russian Empire took over the city from Poland in the 18th century after the FIrst Polish partitions. While Napolean troops burned it to the ground in the early 19th century on the way to Moscow. Fast forward to the late 20th century, and the town experienced the after-effects of one of the world's worst ecological disaster, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. It is still recovering from it.
It is here where Inna creates. It is the little things that she notices around her. Far away from civilization and modern luxuries, perhaps it is here that it is easier to notice small plants and creatures around her. Orsha is surrounded by one of the densest and older forests in Europe. It is here where everything is breathing around you. We might not hear their sounds, but plants and flowers are breathing too. Her floral watercolor paintings make us feel exactly that. She is not painting inanimate colorful objects. She is painting live creatures. She is painting flowers that want to look their best and give us joy. She is painting flowers that are diluted in the morning fog. They are floating like clouds. They are here one second and disappear in the next one.
Her watercolor technique is perfect for this tenderness, this evanescence, these fleeting moments when flowers are blooming one day and vanish the next one — these short but beautiful moments she is capturing for us.