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Ghenadie Şonţu is a Moldovan artist who stays faithful to contemporary realism in order to provide messages understandable by everyone. His interpretative method of presenting various objects places meaning-making images of human actors at the centre of his artistic vision.
His works reflect not just portraits, still lifes or landscapes, but stories -- and these stories usually belong to someone.
His themes are unveiled, usually, in a series of paintings. One example is the Cristian art collection on which the artist started work 10 years ago. Among the approximately 25 portraits already painted -- out of 40 he has planned -- are depictions of Adam, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Deborah, David, and Peter.
These biblical figures are represented in their childhoods, before they became kings, prophets or saints, to accentuate that within every child lies a certain potential.
'Biblical figures could stand as models of integrity for any generation', Şonţu says.
His work offers space for interpretation even while being based on rigorous research into the biblical characters depicted. Applying the formula Identity + Integrity + Heart = Impact, the artist credits each character he paints with the potential for development.
The artist sees his role as a ministry -- not just to validate a certain aesthetic view, but to bring enlightenment in the social sphere.
Şonţu's social activism also echos through his Golden Images of Chişinău. This series was created to reconstruct history and present to the public buildings that should have been protected as part of Moldova's national heritage. The artist worked with archives, turning black-and-white images of the buildings that stood in Chişinău 100 years ago into brightly coloured jewels
'Art cannot be destructive or just an investment instrument', Şonţu argues. 'Its role is to raise society spiritually'.
To achieve this goal, Şonţu presents a polished, aesthetic world -- one in which the spiritual overcomes the material. His intention is to make people ask themselves questions, rather than to present them with ready answers as if on a platter.