The recent trip by energy entrepreneur Ana Shell to Russia was full of fruitful business meetings and inspirational ideas. She had the pleasure to be invited to a unique art exhibition being held in Moscow and, as a graduate of the Architectural Institute, was able to duly appreciate the works presented there. The organizer and leading figure of the event was none other than Mrs Elsiwi Oratmangun – the spouse of the Indonesian Ambassador to Russia H.E. Djauhari Oratmangun, who Ms Shell had the honor to be acquainted with while in Jakarta.
“Here in Moscow I have begun a new stage of my oeuvre – I have started canvas painting”, said Mrs Oratmangun. “Before, I just worked with porcelain. I would like to thank the Indonesian artist Erica Hestu Wahyuni, who opened my eyes to something new and inspired me in the creation of these works. She also gave me very valuable lessons on canvas painting, as you can see in this exhibition.”
Mrs Oratmangun confessed that Moscow and its atmosphere played a big role in her becoming an artist. “The Russian capital inspired me. Moscow is a wonderful city, it has a great amount of unique museums. One week is enough to visit the dozen of them. And of course all that I see there is left in my mind and somehow reflects in my works. I love Russia, I travel to its other cities, and try to save in my memory all the things I see”.
“Until quite recently I hadn’t been working with canvas at all. But as soon as I got the chance to do so, I thought – why not? I have enough to show in my paintings”. And she is absolutely right. Mrs Oratmangun is an incredibly positive, bright and heartwarming person – you can see it in the colorful clothes she wears, how kindly and warmly she behaves with the people she meets, what sunny colors uses in her works. And in addition to all this, this amazing woman has three adult children. Knowing this, Ana Shell couldn’t help but ask Mrs Oratmangun several questions about family issues.
“Since the first days of my arrival to Russia, I feel very comfortable here. I’m pleased to speak with people who live here, with people of different levels of living. And I see many common things [between Russians and Indonesians]. In many aspects Indonesian mothers are very similar to Russian ones. And these common things make me get to know Russia better and set of mind of its nation.”
“I would like to assure everybody that whatever the age you have reached, we can all begin to take a new step in our life – we can start creating something good, kind, and positive. Everybody among us wants to be happy and look at the world with much more happiness, and we are able to make this happiness by ourselves.”
Mrs Oratmangun is undoubtedly right about this. She has a strong understanding of the importance of family and the stability and happiness it can bring in a modern world which is often confusing and forbidding. This is a common belief of many people in both Indonesia and Russia, where traditional values are coming to the fore again, despite the competition they face from materialism and consumerism. We are increasingly coming to understand that money and careers, while nice in many ways, are no replacement for the warm love of a family. This is reflected both in the equally warm and colorful art of Mrs Oratmangun, and her joyous personality. As if to confirm our impression about the importance of family, she ends the interview with a telling quote:
“To my mind, any positive thinking woman and mother will like my works”.
Article prepared by Annie J