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Alina Zhak
Honors, Interdisciplinary Visual Arts

This samovar is a copy that I recreated of my grandmother’s samovar that we brought with us from Moscow. The samovar is a traditional Russian tea kettle used to make large batches of tea. In Russia, it is a centuries-old custom to come inside from below zero, freezing temperatures and sit down and have some tea with family or guests. In my family we drink tea around the clock. For me, my grandmother’s samovar is symbolic of warmth, shelter, familial love, heritage, memory, and tradition. By placing the samovar under water, I have metaphorically put the fire out and disabled the tea kettle’s functionality. I have displaced the water from the tank and the teapot. Yet, it glows. It reflects rainbows. The light refracts through it creating reflections of the samovar at various angles. The whole piece is illuminated. The displacement of water from inside to outside the vessel is just a transfer from one place to another. And if death is just a transfer from one state to another, does love and memory live on beyond physical existence and time? I’ve always felt that under water, time is stopped, sound is muted, nothing can harm me, I am weightless.


Alina Zhak is a multidisciplinary artist born in Russia, raised in Los Angeles, and currently based out of Seattle.