LEILA ATAYA New Zeland, b. 1979

Leila Ataya was born in Moscow in 1979 and is now based in New Zealand where she moved with her family in 1996. In 2001, she graduated at the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland with a BFA in the Discipline of Painting.


Ataya’s art starts form the bond between the artist’s creativity and the viewer’s mind, to produce playful realities made of strong symbols and dominated by ethereal women and refined creatures. Ataya’s figures remind of Modigliani’s sinuous contours and long shadows. Sometimes, they are fascinating beings, luxurious princesses with feline traits, imprisoned at the bottom of a darkish abyss.


Other times, they look like charming witches wearing lavish jewellery, and staring at the viewer to hypnotise and put a spell on him/her. Delicate butterflies and miniature animals play with tangling gilded threads and shiny pearls in the middle of the dark.


This world may belong only to the ghostly figures so they can peacefully live with the shreds of their golden dreams. In this way, Ataya’s women explore the limits of darkness through sophisticated visions, as happens with a baroque scene, where graceful figures emerge from a black background as mystic visions we cannot reach.