I ended up spending all my computer time last week reading up on Polina Rayko. I had a hard time tracking down enough information in English so I downloaded a handful of translation softwares to try to piece together her story. Her house and her art were discovered by accident, much like Khadambi Asalache story. Below are photos are her home and her story:
Polina Rayko’s was born in Tsyuryupinsk in the Ukraine and for the most part things went as they should. She married in the1950s and had two children, a son and daughter. Polina and her husband made a modest income selling produce from their backyard and lived a very normal life. In 1994, however, everything began to go down hill. Her daughter was tragically killed in a car accident, and her husband passed away shortly there after. Her son, as a result of his own grief turned to drugs and was in and out of prison until he too died from his addiction.
In 1998 when Polina was 69, she began painting her home as a way to brighten up her life. She received a small pension every month and used it to buy the cheapest brushes and paints she could find at the market. She had no T.V., magazines or regular access to a newspaper so she drew her inspiration from water bottle and wine labels, a set of religious postcards and old chocolate wrappers.
Polina painted the walls, ceilings doors and track into the street before she finished four years later. Afterward she began taking orders locally painting murals on walls, gate and monuments including her son and husbands in the local cemetery.
Although, her art gathered the attention of a few local art lovers her work largely went unnoticed and her grandson who inherited the house sold it for only $6,000.
A few years after her death a painted phrase was found on the garage door: “How to find a way to paradise…
It was really hard to narrow down the photos I gathered for this post so I uploaded the rest to a set on my flickr account here if you are interested.