Lev Nikitin. About War, About Love

"I was born March 13, 1985 in Shymkent, in Kazakhstan, then still a republic of the Soviet Union. I grew up and studied in the countryside. In 1994, after the collapse of the USSR my family moved to Russia, to the village of Kostenki in Voronezh region.
Living in Kazakhstan, at school I experienced bullying by children for my national distinction, for being Russian. Even then I began to question my national identity.
I dreamed of moving to Russia because of bullying. And the dream came true. We relocated to Russia. It turned out to be a Russian village, where a closed monoethnic community of fellow villagers was formed. Since I was a newcomer, I was also bullied at school because of my nationality. Only that time I was bullied because I was
Already as a child I realized that I had no nationality and no homeland. My family. is international, with an international way of life, traditions and cuisine - Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, Greek, Chinese. Thus, it helped me realize that my friends can be all the people of the world, and my homeland is the whole planet. At school I was a lonely and bullied child. At the age of 12 I realized my homosexuality, which had an even greater effect on my isolation. I experienced a total feeling of loneliness. At that time I promised myself, by all means, to get out of the village, to expand my world. I started doing my
art practice, I was self-taught.
In 2002, I left the village and went to university to become an art teacher. I also began studying fashion design, sewing clothes and participating in international fashion design contests. At the same time, me and several students united into the independent organization of free artists and created a project called "New Territory". After university I created my own business which went
bankrupt during the economic crisis of 2010s.
I started a new life from scratch when I moved to Moscow to make art. I found a job as a set designer in a theater, rented a studio, and began creating art, taking part in exhibitions and doing solo exhibitions. Thanks to my full-time job at the theater, I was able no longer limit myself in the images, mediums and themes of my art.
Having no sense of any roots or attachment to national origins, to my origins, I began to consider my origins not as a nation or a state, but as the art of the Renaissance. It became my personal homeland. And the use of many symbols in my art was based on my multiethnic family, as the symbolism (religious, cultural, ethnic) in my family was present in all its diversity.
In many stages of my life I had to "rebuild" myself anew.
To get rid of complexes about my body,
to accept myself, I began to explore corporeality in various genres and mediums. Being rejected in a religious society because of sexuality, I began to fill this gap with art, intertwining it with
religious meanings."