Finally tomorrow is the day: 5th World Ebru Day in Prague! The great event starts tomorrow (21.11.2016) at 10:00 till 27.11.2016 in Lucerna Gallery. As ČeskoTurecko / ÇekTürk, we are glad to be media partner of 5th World Ebru Day in Prague and contributing connecting Czech – Turkish cultures and promoting Turkish traditional art: Ebru to the world! We are looking forward to meet Turkish ebru lovers, teachers, artists there, including Atilla Can and also the artists from the other countries, with their workshops.
We would like to share with you amazing story of Xenia Sulimenko, who is one of the organisers of 5th World Ebru Day event in Prague, who is a ebru lover and teacher as well. We hope that you will enjoy the interview with Xenia Sulimenko and her lovely ebru stories.
1) Could you please introduce yourself?
I am Xenia Sulimenko and I live in the beautiful city of Prague. I am married and have a 6 year old daughter. I’m originally from Kazakhstan and I emigrated to Prague. In between, I lived in Dubai, Sharm el Sheik and Moscow. Beautiful all in their own way, but none can hold a candle to Prague. Prague is also the home to my company, MSB Events, which has played a major part in organizing and designing this event. MSB Events primarily focuses on Business Conferences across Russia/CIS and Europe.
2) Where and when was the first time you saw Ebru art?
In 2014 I found Ebru under very strange circumstances by seeing a video online completely by chance. A short time later, my daughter was on a Doctor-ordered home-stay for 4 weeks. The two of us found Ebru to be a perfect match to spend long hours and create art together. I don’t have any formal art education and I really can’t draw, but I found that Ebru enhanced what I could do, and drove me to improve my abilities. Around this time, I found a one-day course in Prague with Kübra Aşık, and that lit the fire. It began an incredible relationship with the art of Ebru.
3) After this first interaction how did you start Ebru?
The first time I saw Ebru was in an online video. A short time after that, I was in Moscow on business, so I ordered my first kit to be delivered to the hotel! A couple of days later, I was doing my first pieces at home with my daughter, Nika. We absolutely fell head over heels for it and we continue to work in the studio whenever we can.
While the introduction to Ebru was a great success for me and my daughter, I faced major obstacles in long term pursuit of practicing Ebru. The major one being that Ebru supplies in Europe were virtually nonexistent.
In an effort to bring suppliers closer, I’ve contacted paint manufacturers in Turkey; I’ve tried all possible paint companies, and developed a fantastic relationship with Art Deco and Karin, both of whom supply world class quality in Ebru supplies. Om my trip to Turkey I took classes with artists like Kubilay Dinçer and Merve Sözeri. Ebru journey has continued through collaboration and engagement with artists like Anna Ivanova, Anna Prigoda, Anna Klykovskaya, Tatiana Kirillova, Antonio Velez Celemin and Yulia Tsareva.
Along with the development of a new community of Ebru artists, I began to create and publish interesting and useful content on social networks about Ebru and Ebru artists, thanks to the growth of the Ebru social network.
So for me, Ebru began as a curiosity, grew into a love, and now is a commitment from the heart and soul. It is not only a challenge in terms of artistic skills but also a rewarding engagement with Ebru artists around the world through my Ebru supple shop www.ebru-art.cz and Facebook page where people can find all info about artists in different parts of the world.
4) How does Ebru make you feel?
Ebru is different every time. When I’m working in my studio, I tend to shut out all distractions and just focus. It’s relaxing and tranquil. Most often I am so into the process that I inhabit a kind of dream space. But, like everyone, I sometimes have to work through whatever is holding me back. It’s interesting because when I look back at some of ‘those’ days, I can remember what I was feeling, and I am often surprised that the works I created reflect those emotions.
5) How is it to be an Ebru teacher in a foreign country, in your case, the Czech Republic?
Because the art is very alive and visual, people don’t quite get the full potential and interaction by just seeing a flier or an advertisement. Word of mouth and especially sharing some of the content I produce online, like videos, are the best avenues for attracting new people to the art. As for Ebru, I don’t feel like a proper teacher, because I really consider my classes as equal parts learning and playing. I try to make my classes fun and engaging, especially for kids. I think teaching kids exposes me each time to the wonder of the first moment I put my first drop of ink on the water. If anyone wants to try Ebru and take a lesson, I schedule lessons monthly, just get in touch!
6) Why do you think Prague is a good location to celebrate World Ebru Day?
Like Ebru is a UNESCO heritage art form, Prague is a UNESCO city. The mysterious Prague holds secrets of all kinds and in all corners of the city just waiting to be rediscovered. It’s a city that I think matches the mysterious nature of Ebru. They are both unique, mysterious, and beautiful I also see Prague as a truly international city. On any given day, I hear 10 or more languages in the city center, on the trams and in my own office! This diverse nature has created a city where everyone has a place and a part to play. World Ebru Day is dedicated to sharing Ebru with the world and all her peoples, and Prague will prove to be worthy of the task.
7) What do you think of this year’s 5th World Ebru Day event between 21-27.11.2016? Will more international Ebru lovers attend this day?
World Ebru Day is growing, and each year we are getting more and more exposure, participation and energy. I expect that we’ll see a healthy attendance starting with the opening on Monday the 21st and throughout the week at our workshops and presentations. For anyone who is an active Ebru artist or just a curious soul, the workshops will be a great opportunity to see Ebru Masters from around the globe share their techniques and tips. Be sure to come to Lucenra Gallery and join us for a class or two!
Also, we have gathered more than 120 artists from 34 countries promising a wide range of techniques presented by people from many parts of the world.
8) What could you suggest / recommend to the people who would like to start making Ebru art – especially in Prague?
One, start with a class! An introduction class is usually about 2 hours and as a group, I have found that even the most hesitant people gain confidence quickly in a group setting. Two, if you have kids, get them involved and take a class with them. You’ll love how fast they’ll pick up an Ebru brush, and you’ll need a camera to capture the moment they see their first paper come off the water. Their eyes light up with pure joy and amazement. And three, remember that there is no ‘wrong‘ in Ebru. Techniques can always be improved, hand movements and approaches need to come together, but there are no mistakes in a beginners class, it’s all about having fun.
9) Could you compare the popularity of Ebru art in the World and in the Czech Republic?
The entire Ebru art community worldwide is only about 1000 – 2000 people. I’ve made a concerted effort to share Ebru and drive its growth in Europe and especially in the Czech Republic through my e-shop at, through my classes in my studio and through content on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ebruartENG
In terms of popularity, Ebru is and always will be a Turkish art with the most practitioners. In the Czech Republic, we are a small but growing community with a lot of potential, so we hope this event will benefit the local community as well!
10) Why should people visit 5th World Ebru Day in Lucerna, Prague between 21-27.11.2016? Are there any conditions to attend?
World Ebru Day is a charity event with all profits going to 3 funds in the Czech Republic.
The Ebru community of artists is small, and sharing is the best way to promote the art of Ebru. People who attend will be amazed at what a true master can do, and they can participate in making Ebru, whether they are beginners or advanced. The first exposure to a true Master is a moment in time that pushed many talented Ebru artists to strike out on their own doing something they love.
We’ll also host an exhibition with works from many of the Masters. It will also feature works by some very talented Ebru practitioners that have created their own unique styles like Ebru jewelery, fabrics, new design philosophies and more.
One of my favorite parts of the exhibition is new this year. A portion of the exhibition will be dedicated to children under 18 years old. I think the youngest is about 4 years old. Just wait until you witness it, it’s amazing what kids can produce when given the chance, you absolutely must see it.
Within the framework of the World Ebru Day will be presented to the final result of the International Ebru Patchwork Project. The inspiration for this World record project is one of the organizers, Šárka Duran. Šárka and Xenia gathered 196 artists from 37 countries to create an Ebru patchwork that covers 84.864 square meters. The official measurement was done June 5, 2016 in Dobrovice museum with support of Dobrovice mayor Mgr.Tomáš Sedlaček. The work was stitched into a single piece and was recognized by the Czech Book of Records, as well as nominated for the World Guinness Book of Records!
I’d like to mention again that this is organized as a charity event, and that most of the pieces will be for sale with proceeds going to Charity funds and non-profitable organizations: Člověk v tísni, Zdravotní klaun and Sluneční paprsek. We hope to benefit not only the art of Ebru, but also provide attendees a chance to give back to the most vulnerable people in the host country, Czech Republic. So join us, buy your unique art piece and support with us.
This event will let you see Ebru art, meet the masters of Ebru art and create Ebru art at the open workshops, where you can not only see the beauty of the mysterious art of Ebru, but also work side by side in workshops with practicing Ebru artists, masters and friends of all ages. Don’t forget to bring your kids, who make colors dance on water better than adults.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are so happy to share it with you.