Nikolina Okuka
Professional Artist 
English
 

 

 

 

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Membership

Professional Member of RAAV (Le regroupement des artistes en arts visuels)

Professional Member of CARFAC (Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens)

Professional Member of IAA (International Association of Art) - UNESCO

Professional Member of IEDAC (European Institute of Contemporary Arts)

Professional Member of Academy ALP (European Academy of Arts-Letters-Philosophy)

Professional Member of MAA (Mondial Art Academia)

 
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Painting « Beyond the look » of Nikolina Okuka received the 1st prize in the category « Painting » at the Grand International Contemporary Art Competition 2015 from the IEDAC (European Institute of Contemporary Arts) in France.

http://institutdesarts.eu/#/concours/4545400

 

 

 

 

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Biography

Nikolina Okuka was born in the former Yugoslavia  and has been living in Canada since 1994. An artist at heart, she showed a keen interest in art at a very early age: music, literature, painting, etc. When she was only ten years old, she took part in her first painting competition and won second prize. It was to be the beginning of a passion that would grow over the years. Piano, painting and drawing lessons during elementary and secondary schooling enriched her skills. Painting prevailed among the practised forms of art and became her preferred means of expression. Parallel to her mechanical engineering studies at the University of Sarajevo, she cultivated her interest in visual arts and fascination for raw materials. Ever in search of the truth, creation is for her as vital as the oxygen she breathes. Curious and daring by nature, she relentlessly strives to go beyond the beaten path, to take risks and defy boundaries. Through her professional development courses and workshops along with her private lessons, she has broken away from the world of appearances to discover more about herself as a creator free of any artistic influences. With a passion for the world of minerals, travel and visual arts, she pursues her research by pushing the limits of the ordinary even further and uniting her passions. Over time and after much work and research, the concept crystallized and, spontaneously, the path to Gem Art® was carved out.

Nikolina Okuka has held more than fifty solo and group exhibits in Canada, Romania, Belgium, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy and the United States.

She is the recipient of several distinctions and honours. In January 2013, she was awarded two more distinctions by the Institut Européen des Arts Contemporains and the Académie Européenne Arts-Lettres-Philosophie following an exhibition at the Salon National des Beaux-Arts de Paris. She holds the title of Officer and has received the Silver Medal from the Académie Européenne Arts-Lettres-Philosophie and the Vermeil Medal from the IEDAC (European Institute of Contemporary Arts). Recently, she received the 1st prize in the category "Painting" at the Grand International Contemporary Art Competition 2015 from the IEDAC (European Institute of Contemporary Arts) in France.

 
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Artistic approach

Art has always been an integral part of the artist’s life. For her, Nature is an unending source of inspiration that drives the very essence of her being. She believes that everything comes down to Nature: birth, life, death and creation. For many years, Nikolina Okuka was overwhelmed by a fundamental urge to create, and she knew where she had to go to fulfill her dream. A persistent, yet blurred image was ever present, but she did not have the technical means to breathe life into it. However, this vague vision cleared up over time. The image gradually became real and concrete. After years of experimenting with different media and techniques, her research efforts came to fruition and matter imposed itself definitely. She admired the great master Tàpies, one of the first artists to impart nobility to combinations of materials. Through her professional development courses and workshops, she broke away from the world of appearances to discover more about herself as a creator free of any artistic influences. She discovered her guiding thread by following her intuition, expressed as the cornerstone of the voice of her inner self. Her work evolved eventually. She strove to remain open and try new artistic experiences, without losing sight of her driving force. For her, creation is as vital as the oxygen she breathes. It is inner necessity, as defined by Kandinsky. Centering on its artistic expression, the image became increasingly real and the concept crystallized, resulting in Gem Art®.

Gem Art ®

Essence, origin, matter and sensibility are the characteristics of Nikolina Okuka’s artwork. Her work involves a combination of raw and semi-precious materials, forming a thread that weaves into an opposition of smooth and rugged textures, creasing the surface with both brilliant and matt looks. The support is often the visual cue of the artwork, but the stone is its heart. Each stone is very strategically placed on the medium. This is the fruit of her research and trials, as her response to the telluric power of each stone. Hence, this particular setting at the heart of the painting becomes her signature. The cohabitation of the different materials in a harmonious symbiosis imparts a low-relief aspect to her paintings.

Her works are like landscapes seen from the skies. They combine raw and semi-precious materials. Veins and fractures in the composition are reminiscent of the mountain ranges and their faults. Watercourses that irrigate the Earth’s crust, represented with its undulating topography and uneven relief, are the veins of life. The Earth’s surface and its wrinkles are reminiscent of the skin of Mother Earth sheltering within Her bosom an abundant selection of precious stones, fine stones and crystals. Her creations feature stones through evolution on Earth from past to present. Analyzing gems is part and parcel of her artistic work. During her research, she study their evolution over time. The artist sheds a different light on stones and redefines their intrinsic beauty in her own way, compelling the viewer to focus on the essential.


In the first series Earth's Treasures, each of the artist’s creations becomes a separate entity, each paying tribute to a particular stone. She was inspired by the energy hidden in the stones’ perfect geometry and by the radiant beauty inherent in their resplendent colours. The reliefs are part of her artistic expression and language. The colours transform themselves or evolve based on these natural elements. In the series Earth's Treasures, she has come up with an innovative technique in which she integrates a bright light behind her works, which can switch on and off, thereby highlighting the magnificence and preciousness of the sliced gemstone. The illumination of the translucent stone prompts a second look onto the whole artwork itself, uncovering a cosmic dimension. She takes this method even further by integrating a light sensor. The canvas takes on the ambiance of its location depending on the time of day.


In the beginning, our planet was nothing but fire and violence. Then water and rock emerged to form the Earth’s crust. Time defines the geological axis of the planet. Stones have sustained the effect of evolution. They are the central thread driving this second series of paintings entitled Genèse.These works of art are more monochromatic and feature a nuanced palette of earth tones. They unravel the harmonious symbiosis of a range materials, like minerals, sand, wood and stones that impart an aspect of low-relief to the paintings. Why low-relief? It entails revisiting the cradle of humanity when the first low-reliefs emerged from the first deep engravings on rocks. In this second series, Nikolina Okuka makes a brief incursion into the different stages of the Earth’s perpetual transformation: the formation of the Earth’s crust, rugged topography, volcanoes, hurricanes, fossils, the ice age… In other words, life in the past. In the heart of this ongoing process of Genesis are… the stones. At the core of the metaphor on life, the presence of stones is intimately linked to human ontology: existence, continuance and destiny.

What is human life compared to the eternity of stones? 

 
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Artistic analysis
By Alexis Lapointe, Writer

Imparting a mysterious energy to the core of the abstract, stone or crystal is unfailingly at the heart of Nikolina Okuka’s artwork. Her art sometimes recalls the pupil of an eye, the sun, or a planet caught in its orbit. By using stones as catalysts to memory, both human and earthly, Okuka’s series "Trésors de la terre - Earth’s Treasures” reveals itself as a celebration of these earthly gems. Following her intuition, she discovers the stones as the foundations of the artistic expression of her subconscious.

In honour of Nature’s powers, Okuka’s works take life in the mineral world, inspired by the stones’ composition, where colour, movement and texture are echoed on canvas. Flowing lines represented on the canvas are reminiscent of the mountain ranges and streams that run along the Earth's crust. Evoking the cartography of our planet, the oceans’ waves or the surface of the moon, the artist defines a new world in her own way. By turning on and off a light source, her backlit paintings simulate an alternating day and night effect, uncovering a cosmic dimension.

The artistic style introduced by Okuka through this study is called Gem Art® (or Gemstone Art). She explores the relationship between the stones’ properties and their surroundings. Every distinct stone radiates with energy located at the source of an equally unique canvas. Her creative response to the earthly powers of stones comes across as liberating. This back-and-forth between the stones’ perfect geometry and the abstract is unravelled as the key to the secrets confined in the intimate history underlying this artistic work.

The works of Nikolina Okuka offer a different perspective on stones and beauty. A delicate, yet magical balance emerges and amazes. The artist is inspired by the meeting with Nature’s creations, bringing forth gemstones that, in turn, evolve into a whole new realm of creation. 

 
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WHY STONES?

“The stone, containing all the secrets of life, there for thousands of years, is the origin of matter.”

Known for their durability, stones are the symbols of divine power in many civilizations. In pre-historic civilisations, stones were used to make tools and weapons. In the East, stones were the sign of divine presence and they were honoured. In alchemical iconography, the "philosopher’s stone" (lapis philosophorum) is the symbol of the ultimate goal driving the quest to convert impure metal into gold. Whether stemming from mythology, religious convictions, philosophical beliefs or the simple evolution of Man over thousands of years, tales related to gems and their innumerable virtues are intimately related to the history of human evolution. For some, stones are the unwavering foundations of all things. "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the Gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16: 18) For others, stones have therapeutic virtues.

Human beings have managed to pollute the Earth, water and air, but not the stones. They resist our wrongdoings. They are refractory to time. I see stones as the perfect symbols of beauty; they carry immortality in their essence. Each and every one of us is naturally attracted to stones. Reconciling Man with Nature was the prime objective of my artistic approach. Changing people’s views of stones and the other wonders of Nature, so perfect in their touching simplicity, inspired my creations. Making invisible the visible and expressing the inexpressible…

 
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