Welcome

Experience is a teacher par excellence! Since the age of 21 when my destiny determined that I would fall into the trap of a psychopath’s “ predatory” stare¹ or perhaps “ocular rape”², for want of better words, I have been on a journey that though at times devastating and tumultuous has culminated none the less in the fruitful experience and ongoing voyage of healing and deliverance, teaching me self – reinvention and the discovery of the God of the bible who truly cares.

For those interested in my story thus far, I expect that this site will likely presage all my future work in whatever form it will take given my natural proclivities.

As a fashion designer earlier in life, I was a classicist. As a decorator, I am a maximalist and as an artist I am probably a colourist who aspires to perfect harmony (at least at present). The way I see it, visual art is a language with numerous dialects. I tend to see all painting for example as being on a continuum between the two poles of pure abstraction and photo realism. Today, definitions of painting in the expanded field and sculpture can seem to collide in an array of 3-D forms – another hybrid version of yet another ‘artistic dialect’ – as it appears to be to my mind.

At the risk of sounding like a mystic (which is anathema to the ears of my evangelical friends, and alternatively applauded by my Catholic friends), I tend to see connections between all things – visual, historical, literary, mythological, supernatural and symbolic etc etc… Thus my creative tendency flows between and borrows from many disciplines in interconnected, hybridised and (to me) totally natural ways. For example, rather than seeing pattern as decorative or “feminised” and “superficial”, I see it as the necessary matrix of all life. Pattern combines science and art in perfect unison. Consider for example mathematical fractals in Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings and the natural occurrence of mathematical fibonacci sequences in nature. I invite you therefore to take a tour of my website and meander down some of those visual and literary thought paths which have been put in place for your enjoyment.

Thank you for visiting my site and if we haven’t met before, I look forward to the day when we will meet in person to exchange notes on the journey, either in this life or the next, God willing.

Until then, bon voyage.

Nina Gregurev

Nina Gregurev
Education...

Saint Aloysius Girls College.

University of Adelaide, Bachelor of Arts,Majors in Classics and English Literature
University of Adelaide, Graduate Diploma in Psychology.
Adelaide Central School of Art, Associate Degree in Visual Art ( current)

Awards:
Laurence T. Schneider Prize in Art History and Theories.
The James Gartrell Prize in Classical studies.
(see winning essays under ‘Essays’ on this site.)

Footnotes...
  1. These are the closest words that my research can come up with to describe what happened to me once. Alas, psychopathy is just not that interesting to me to have prompted me to undertake a deeper research on the topic to date. For more information, please refer to that which is below. The concept of the “predatory” stare comes from page 208 of chapter 13 of the book Without Conscience, the disturbing world of the psychopaths among usby Robert D Hare PhD published in 1999 by the Guilford Press, a division of Guilford Publications Inc, 370 Seventh Avenue Suite 1200 New York, New York 10001. guilford.com
  2. “Ocular Rape” is a concept referred to on page 16 of Matisse and Picasso: the story of their rivalry and friendshipby Jack Flam. Published by Westview Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group, January 2003 on the internet at http://www.westviewpress.com. Contact the special markets department at the Perseus Books Group, 11 Cambridge Centre, Cambridge MA 02142 or call (800) 255-1514 or (617) 252-5298, or email mccrary@perseusbooks.com. Flam refers to the Spanish concept of ocular rape in relation to the strong determined gaze that the artist Pablo Picasso was known for. It needs to be stressed though that this concept is probably far too strong when applied to a genius like Picasso, whose act was entirely creative and life-serving. However, the concept is not strong enough when describing the man who abused me, whose act was ultimately and (I believe) consciously/knowingly destructive toward me.

Artist Book

Verses that break curses

My artist’s book comprises pieces from my past and present, such as dresses I designed, a chair and a toy wooden duck. They each have verses I have written recently, except for “Ducky Daddles” which I wrote in 1978.

The verses are semiautobiographical while the scripture verses from Proverbs have personal meaning. The sum total represents a catharsis of transformation from lost and broken to whole and found. It also represents the mental shift from designer to artist.

Mirror writing was employed merely for interest- something I taught myself as a child, imitating Da Vinci.

Nina Gregurev

Lost

Once while taking shelter from the rain

I grew accustomed to the pain of working till my fingers bled …..lt seemed

The drought of summer was my cup

Onward I forged for I had to sup

It seemed .

On kingly delights of every kind,

To fill and thrill an empty mind

 It seemed .

Adam’s race had lost its way

“Greed is good” I heard them say

Adam’s race had run its course

Alas for me, there was no remorse.

For when I was lost, I could not find

My own way back to a restful mind.

The Fashionable Life

“I’ll turn that frown upside down”

Said the Jewish journo to the fashion clown

“You want to work in Fashion Design?

Come up to my place, be there at nine!

I’ll make you rich; make your star to shine!

I’ll even put you on the cover of Time!

Then after nine we’ll drink some wine,

And by and by you’ll be mine!”

On Reflection when Seated

Why oh why can I not cry?

I cannot cry I know not why

But how I love the sexy crippled guy in

Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh

On thought of him I think I can so cry

Cry and Cry and Cry

Till my big brown eyes run dry.

THE PSYCHOPATHIC POLYMATH

On journeying to Melbourne Town

One summer when my skin was brown

When my hair was golden and my guard was down

I beheld a man of sporting renown

At once tall and slender with eyes of brown.

But as it happened the things that followed

Would make me frown

He had a boyfriend who did fall

From a building many stories tall

The tale was told me of great woe and gall

Of this psychopathic polymath over six feet tall.

Blinded by the Dazzling Light

When blinded by the dazzling light of

Bon Paris and Milan at night

I scaled the plan to fit the globe —

Only then would I disrobe

of Lady Poverty and outward scum

Never again to see the slum ….

So on my hapless way I went

Fame and Money making my intent

No grace, no favour, just dismay, when

I blindly wandered down Satan’s way

Empty like a virgin’s womb

My fate was sealed like a deathly tomb

How could I know and what did it matter

That I would become as mad as a hatter

Forced from paradise to hell – East of Eden the bell did knell

I knew it not that I would grow to find the Christ of long ago

Back into my heart did Jesus pop

Enmity with God would have to stop

Evil spirits left I know not where

Then the love of God alone was there

No longer crushed by the weight of sin

With oh what joy did I embrace my kin

Life has never been so good now that I have understood

The very reason for my fall was that …

It was God’s plan all along to make me whole.

Ducky Daddles

Ducky Daddles loves the puddles

How he waddles as he paddles

In the puddles does Ducky Daddles.

PROVERBS 4:2-9

….. .. do not forsake my teaching

When I was a son with my Father,

Tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,

He taught me and said to me,

Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments, and live

Get wisdom, get insight;

Do not forget and do not turn away from the words of my mouth

Do not forsake her and she will keep you

Love her and she will guard you

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom

And whatever you get, get insight

Prize her highly and she will exalt you.

She will honour you if you embrace her

She will place on your head a graceful garland She will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

Projects

Cocoon Project with Analogue

 Little Red Riding Hat and Cape

“And they have conquered him (that is the devil) by the blood of the lamb

and by the word of their testimony.”

Revelation 12:11

  This is the story of Little Red Riding Hat and Cape. It is my personal cocoon version and rewriting of the traditional fairytale: Little Red Riding Hood. It is an adult version, which though not x-rated does make reference to evil in the supernatural realm, and as such may be deemed unsuitable for some sensitive children. I begin with an introduction followed by a self-written poem and finish with a summary. The story is one of devastation leading to transformation. Thus fitting the theme of “cocoon”.

Read more...

Introduction

Some say sex is destiny. This was certainly the case for Little Red Riding in the traditional version. However, I propose that character is destiny and how we as human beings choose to respond to life’s more serious challenges, including abuse, can forge and refine our character like gold in a furnace is purged of its dross. In the end our character can become almost priceless, compared to what it would be if we had never been tested.

But first, a lightning speed tutorial on the symbolism in the traditional version of Little Red Riding Hood.  Literary critics point to the red cape as representing menstrual blood and the onset of sexual maturity. The wolf is the unscrupulous predatory male libertine who sees an opportunity too good to miss.  Red Riding Hood is sent to her sick grandmother through the woods carrying bread and wine to make her well. She is told by her mother not to deviate from the path. Yet deviate she does when the wolf, who she doesn’t know, is dangerous, seduces her to take a different way. In short, he eats grandma and Red Riding Hood which requires both to need a hero in the good hunter, who spots the wolf, cuts him open and returns the two women to their former state. He puts rocks in the wolf’s belly, which kills the creature. Then the hunter takes the wolf’s skin as a trophy of victory over evil.

The moral of the story seems to be listen to your mother at all times because she’s probably always right. But on assessing this paradigm, I found it very insufficient and unsatisfying. On revisiting the traditional version I could not help noticing the inherent double standard implied which seems to have a biological basis. As usual, the lesson men learn differs considerably to the lesson women learn in Red Riding Hood.  Women learn that there are two types of men: 1) bad wolves and 2) good hunters. Apart from being advised not to stray from the path, (which in layman’s terms basically means “keep it in your Calvins love!”) Red Riding Hood like grandma before her is given no better instruction in life. In the story women are victims of wolf-like men and learn dependency by needing rescuing/saving from good hunter type men. Now, as an aside, I have come across all kinds of men but never have I come across in actual life anyone who is like a good hunter type other than Jesus Christ himself, who can actually do something about the problem of human evil and brokenness.  Therefore, I am inclined to think that the “good hunter” is a female fantasy. He represents what women wish men would have the power to be for them. We wish it from our fathers, brothers, uncles, friends and lovers. But even when these are well-meaning they often lack the potency to put away the wolves that dwell amongst us. The wolves in reality rarely get killed and skinned it seems.

So…my cocoon version of Red Riding Hat and Cape, unlike the original, pays attention to the otherwise unseen reality of transformation within the identity of woman victim. Here, Red Riding Hood goes through a number of stages of transformation which have some relation to the psychological stages of grief and loss, since abuse includes both. But I also wish to draw attention to the fact of our tendency to identify with the wronged party because there is also another story behind the main story which deserves to be told as well that can aid our understanding of our place in the world. I am talking about the story of the wolf and how his instincts get the better of him. In the traditional story his end is commensurate with his deeds, that is he gets what he deserves and rightly so if his instincts can never be retrained or rehabilitated.

I would however argue that there is potentially a wolf in each one of us. It has varying degrees of ferocity. Its strength and power to harm depends on how we train it, contain it and whether or not we ultimately feed it by giving in to it. At what point should we be willing to annihilate the wolf in another when, if we are truly honest, we can see a wolf (or at least a pup) in ourselves also? Is it not more humane to try to rehabilitate offenders where it is possible without incurring further losses?

But coming back to our story, Red Riding Hood as a drama unfolds with horrendous repercussions all round, precisely because the “safe path” for our heroine seems so restricting and youth demands adventure.

So finally the following verses, which I have written myself illustrate my own adventure, serious consequences and outcome of meeting with a terrible wolf who was probably the way he was because of other terrible wolves who may have harmed him once. This all happened once upon a time some 26 years ago in 1991 when I was aged 21 and studying interstate.

This poem is called:

The Redemption Transformation

A Christian girl once sought renown.

In fashion crowded Melbourne town.

How could she make her way in life,

Without incurring sin and strife?

The answer came: it came and went;

On finding love she became hell-bent.

A man, a maid; a man-made maiden?

She was the spiritual child of Mademoiselle Chanel

And would become sin-laden.

There was a man who acted good

On the surface it should be understood,

His sole ambition was to steal and shame,

He wanted greatly to destroy her Christian name.

A high moneyed bureaucrat,

A demon king,

A cultivated killer hidden in the Collins Street gym.

Inducing madness was his method you see;

Possessed by evil he looked into her eyes,

And reached into her soul, affecting an insanity! –

(a “deliverance” of a sort but only in accordance with a demonic court!)

She never was his lover let it be said!

– she never lay upon his god-forsaken filthy bed!

She swore she never would be wed!

Then in the spa a little bit later, he pronounced her “evil” and said;

“You think you can walk on water!”

Then, his hand took hers and tried to make her own go between his thighs; –

His meaning was to make her a slave for life;

All the better to affect a swift demise. –

(the demonic alternative, (you could say), to an actual wife!)

But, back she did pull her hand away, and lived to go on another day.

With the battle thus begun, the deed was done,

A broken spirit she had become.

The choice was slavery to him

Or insanity alone!

So temporary insanity took its perilous throne.

Having met with the enemy thus,

It became impossible, (impossible!) to make a crust!

Life was tough on a government pension

Until she grasped the truth of Christ’s ascension,

And triumph over the world and whole demonic dimension.

To Christ then, she would pledge her troth…

So…drawn up into Abraham’s bosom she had become,

Thanks greatly to the attentions of a praying mum.

Thankful at last for the simple things in life –

No longer to a life of strife would she be wife!

But to the Christ who is true God and King;-

For all dominion and power belong to Him.

Holy Father who art in heaven,

Held up high be Your holy name.

May your sovereign bounty be upon us.

Forgive us all our trespasses we pray,

As we live to forgive others also another day.

Deliver us from evil we humbly pray.

Please God, grant true redemption to that man,

May your sovereign love do what it can,

To sway the heart that from You ran…

To his Catholic roots bring him back again,

Though his sins be as scarlet,

May they be as white as snow, that some day,(some day),

Even he to heaven may go.

Amen.

That was the poem…so…to summarise the transformation from victim to victor, you will have noticed my optimistic hope that a complete turn around is at least possible for even the worst of offending wolves.

This is where my version of Little Red Riding Hood diverges considerably from tradition, because as I see it, she has at least four possible courses of action or inner growth that can take effect in her life to find a resolution to her bad experience. But only one of these is truly transformative.

Option 1) She could never stop identifying as a victim, never heal, never grow, never get past the terrible memories of life in the wolf’s belly. She could marry a good hunter and always live in fear that he would die and that she would become a victim again.

Option 2) She could, negatively, identify with the wolf and end up becoming an abuser herself. This is a real possibility for victims.

Option 3) (a slightly healthier option) – she could identify with the good hunter and vow like him to take down all wolves that cross her path, or

Option 4) She could go a step further, identifying with Jesus, and forgive the wolf his trespasses against her – those untamed instincts that nearly destroyed her. She could by doing so overcome her fear of wolves and seek instead to become a wolf-tamer in time.

This I think is the path I have taken and am taking. I don’t know how many travel this path, but it is the path of forgiveness and transformation.

It is to the Christian narrative that I keep returning, as it is the only one offering a solution, not only for the victim but also for the perpetrator. Now we see in the picture of the reverse of the cocoon cape that Red Riding Hood is bigger than the wolf (please refer to image of Little Red Riding Hat and Cape in the visual presentation on this website). The wolf has lost his power over her and she has successfully tamed him. Her tears represent a memory of being sorry for the history that once existed between herself and her abuser.  The chain that binds the wolf is the human chain, which he has imposed on him being forced as it were not to break it anymore, as it is fundamentally a symbol of humanity’s power to come together against the forces of tyranny. The hat is a throwback to the original version where the wolf’s skin is now a trophy of triumphant victory in the war against evil. Evil has lost the battle, good has won.

The colours of the cape can be seen to relate to Catholic priestly vestments, and refer to different times of the religious calendar. Purple and violet signify Advent and the coming of Christ and Easter. Rose signifies the anticipated joy of Christ’s triumph.  Red signifies the Holy Spirit and the Passion of Christ. Gold is for Christ’s triumph and Jesus’ kingship. In the pocket of the cape is a small “cocoon”. It is in fact a purse which is also reversible, and represents the time in the wolf’s stomach. It is mostly blue and reflects depressed feeling, a time of spiritual warfare and self-realisation, where character is formed making the person of Red Riding Hood (ie me) into the person she is destined to be, both today and tomorrow.

Finally, to be able to take off the cocoon/cape signifies the end of the transformation and the emergence of the new creature that one has become.

Contact

Contact Nina about any of her work, ask for a price or request a viewing:

Email: ninagregurev@gmail.com