By Michelle Hopkins for Experience Delta Summer 2019
Local artist Radina Dromeva channeled her own pain of anxiety and depression into a powerful portrait exhibition
By all accounts, Radina Dromeva was living an enviable life. Working as a mathematician, she was earning a great salary, had a wonderful boyfriend, was a homeowner and had a supportive family. But Dromeva became so immobilized by depression that she could barely get out of bed,
and life was starting to spiral out of control.
One day, Dromeva’s psychologist asked her: ‘Can you tell me about a time when you were happy – what did that look like?’
“I couldn’t visualize a time when I was happy,” says Dromeva. “After my diagnosis, I started working on myself, and through that I opened my mind to other possibilities.”
She quit her job and picked up the camera her late father-in-law gifted her. A few years later, Radina Photography was born.
With a deep understanding of how depression had life-changing effects on her – isolation, worry, and fear that comes with this invisible affliction that can stall or even stop the forward progress in one’s life – an idea started to blossom.
Dromeva’s life experiences, coupled with her newfound passion, led her to create Celebrating Resilience – a collection of nine conceptual portraits in combination with storytelling by local residents who courageously turned their lives around after facing a variety of struggles.
“The project aims to reduce stigma, empower the people sharing their story, and encourage our neighbours to feel not alone if they are struggling with similar issues,” Dromeva explains.
“For those not directly struggling – I hope to open some minds.”
On June 1 st , at Ladner’s Stir Coffee House, Dromeva held the opening night of Celebrating Resilience. (The show runs for a month). For this important show, Dromeva collaborated with Alongside You – an integrated health clinic.
“After the exhibit closes, we will be placing the individual portraits in various local businesses (to be determined), so that we can expose more of our community to these difficult topics,” notes Dromeva.
Celebrate Resilience morphed out of Dromeva’s Celebrate Yourself – a portrait service that she has been offering her clients for a few years now.
“Through my Celebrate Yourself program, I want to remind people of their power, their resilience and strength through a portrait,” she says. “A portrait is a strong, daily reminder of our power.”
By sharing her story, Dromeva says: “Someone always seems to identify with a portion of it … and that brings me such satisfaction.”
Name: Radina Photography
Address: 5134 Whitworth Crescent North, Ladner, BC
Phone number: 604-619-5016
Website: www. radinaphotography.com
Hours: By appointment