I was born in 1967 in Kazayak, a small town in the autonomous region of Gagauz Eri, Republic of Moldova. I cherish happy memories of my childhood in the Soviet Union during the seventies, the best time of the Soviet expansion before its decline. When I was 12 years old, Dmitriy Petrov opened an art studio in my high school. I was among the first to enroll in his courses. This experience would literally colour the rest of my life. Dmitriy taught me how to draw, how to sketch, how to paint. But most important, he taught me to appreciate Gagauzian culture, which was an uncommon subject of study in that time. After graduation I continued my education in the Community College of Chadir Lunga, where I studied interior design. In 1997 I had to leave school and my land and enroll in the mandatory military service. I was stationed in Magdeburg, East Germany for two years. After my service was completed I continued my studies in Komrat, the capital city of Gagauz Eri. Then, the unthinkable happened—the Soviet Union started to collapse. I became an adult person amidst those turbulent times. Yet, I had the privilege to meet with artists such as Petr Vlah, Dmitri Savastin, Ayoglu Dmitriy, Mihail Arabadji, and Duloglu Fedor. They were all engaged in the movement to lead, first to the autonomy of Gagauz Eri within the USSR and, later, within the Republic of Moldova. My friend, Dmitriy Savastin suggested for me to go to Baku, Azerbaijan, to continue my artistic education. However, after one year of my arrival the war broke between Azerbaijan and Armenia and I had to leave Baku without completing a degree.

Once again in Gagauz Eri, I applied and won a scholarship of the Turkish government to pursue undergraduate studies in Istanbul at Mimar Sinan University. I chose figurative art and Nese Erdok became my tutor. Those four years of my life in Istanbul allowed me to expand my knowledge and my sensibility to unknown limits. Not only was I in the city that defined the West from the East; it was my first approach to the capitalist system in a nation that shared common historical and linguistic heritage with Gagauz Eri.

In 1995 I presented my first One Man Show in the Taksim Art Gallery of Istanbul. My work reflected my vision of the historical districts of this magnificent city. I graduated from Mimar Sinan in 1996 and in the summer of that same year, I had the opportunity to travel to London. I was particularly impressed by the art museums and the artistic milieu in London. It was there, in Leicester Square, that I met a Turkish artist, Mustafa Cetin, who is my friend to this day. I lived in London for two years.

In 1998, life brought me to Toronto. I thought I had known the capitalist system while I was living in England, but nothing prepared me for the experience in Canada. Toronto was not as interesting as most European cities but it was young and vibrant, and full of ambitious people, always busy, and extremely expensive. I started a business in order to survive but found the time to participate in exhibitions, here and there. In the beginning I felt rather uncomfortable standing in front of a booth selling my own work, just like a businessman. Later I understood that this a common practice for everything in Canada.

I find it particularly hard to survive as an artist in this time of economic contraction. However, I firmly believe that art is as ointment for the pains of the crisis. In addition to my job as interior decorator I continue to sketch, draw and paint; I travel and find new and unexpected faces of this vast country, but I never forget my identity. The Spanish author, Arturo PĂ©rez Reverte, once wrote that the true motherland of a man is his childhood. My memories, my imagination, and my dreams, all converge in their primeval source in Gagauz Eri. I am a member of this globalized society, but my heart remains forever in my town, Kazayak.