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Sonia Drabkin, 1961 ~ Romantic Fantasy painter

Israeli painter Sonia Drabkin is an emerging surrealistic and romantic fantasy artist. Sonia Drabkin’s art is heavily influenced by Surrealism. As with artists of this style who preceded her, her sources lie in Paris of the 1920s. Drabkin celebrates a vision of the world in which the imagination is set free. She aspires to express her ideas, experiences, and emotions in a symbolic and surreal manner. She creates paintings where reality is like a dream in search of the inner self’s authentic voice. Rising out of her works is the desire that wonder and magic not be lost from reality.

Sonia Drabkin was born in Antwerp, Belgium where she grew up in an environment surrounded by art, literature, and beauty. As a child, she already showed an unusual talent for drawing and painting and at the age of eleven, she was awarded a prize by Fabiola the Queen of Belgium. Impressions from her childhood include the works of the Belgian painter Folon and a visit to Rubens house where she was especially taken by the sight of his small bed. During the weekends, the family used to travel to Knokke on the Belgian coast, where the calm sea would whisper of great love and influenced her works. This is where she first saw Magritte’s Domaine Enchanté painted on the walls of a casino. Amongst the artists who influenced her during that period were Salvador Dali, Rodin, whose sculptures could be seen in the Antwerp sculpture garden, and Maillol. She was also exposed to the world of Belgian comics and loved the Disney animated films. Dreaming of a large family, Drabkin married at the age of 19 and by the time she was 28 she had four children, to whom she willingly dedicated herself.

It was only in the early 1990s that Drabkin started to paint and reveal her unique style. As the desire to paint grew, her rich inner world waited for the opportunity to break through. Drabkin is trying to hold onto the wonder and magic of childhood, not letting it lose itself in the reality of adult existence.
Drabkin is connected through her worldview to the optimistic and wonderful world of her inner child, searching for happiness and optimism. Normal every day life seen through her prism is transformed into a magical journey full of wonders.

Her complex symbolic world reveals fascinating stories and an all-encompassing love of life. Her use of bright sun-drenched primary colors strengthen her affinity to childhood: sky blue, strong yellow, brash red, as well as vital green. When the painting dives into the subconscious appear deep blues, purples, and emerald green, all full of mystery.

In Drabkin’s surrealist works all aspects of womanhood are explored. In some, she looks at the world through the eyes of a little girl she links to nature, growing from within a flower or completely under water , her body made from the reflections of plants and sea creatures connected to first instincts. It is from here that femininity personified by Botticelli’s Venus develops, in the birth of young sexuality. Many of the paintings deal with motherhood, and others with closing the circle of life - with illness and old age. It is interesting to follow the changing meanings of her works in their varied composition - sometimes closed in a box or closet, and sometimes free as in paintings set in open fields or under the sea. Similar to the painter Frida Kahlo, Drabkin often deals with relations between husband and wife, and the different roles given to them within the family.

Sonia Drabkin’s extensive travel around the world gave her many opportunities to visit museums and galleries and brought her into contact with a wide range of cultures and religions. Her continued interest in art - beauty, design, textile - adds to the deep well of subjects that preoccupy her and find expression in her work. The autodidactic Drabkin has given her wonderful all to create pictures of a world full of magical symbols, together with a sensitive eye and an unusual naturalistic style, whether in oil paintings or in bronze sculpture.