Author Archives: Oxana Gutu

Monaco’s open-air art

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What I love about discovering Monaco is that it offers more than meets the eye. The art on street and in public spaces is not scarce in a place of exclusivity. I also love the art in the open on trips with my kid, when patience to visit museums is at its low. And you can continue to enjoy that ice-cream 🙂

Here is a selection of only a few art items on display in Monaco:

Sky mirror, by Anish Kapoor, a British artist

The sculpture “bring” the heaven on earth due to its special lenses. It was a gift by Lily Safra to the Principality. You can find it in front of Monte Carlo Casino.

Adam and Eve, by Fernando Botero, Columbian artist

Botero is known for mixing harmoniously naive primitivism, grotesque, kitch, folklore, Italian renaissance and colonial Barocco. “Adam and Eve” is a 900 kg, 3 meters high sculpture, placed behind the Casino.

Woman smoking a cigarette is another of Botero’s sculptures you can find in The Roses Garden of Fontveille.

Woman snake, by Mateo Mormar, Croatian artist

Mormar is a world renown sculpture who lives and Monaco. This sculpture depicts harmony between humans and animals through difference (mind the contrast of lines). The sculpture was created in 2010 and it took 2 years of work.

Hexa Grace, by Vasarely Foundation

It symbolises the sky, sea and land and was installed on the roof of Fairmont in 1979, to delight the visitors eyes.

Last but not least of my favourites, is the Jean-Baptiste le Monégasque bronze sculpture by Rachid Khimoune, French sculptor. You can find it behind the Gremaldi forum. img_1560

 

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« Less » by Andrew Sean Greer

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“You will sob little tears of joy” said one review.

The book by Greer, a winner of the Pulitzer prize for fiction, is a story of a writer – Arthur Less, who seeking love almost lost it, just to find it, after he run away to travel around the world. The author gives us a Less at first – from a 70s American bohemian period – to a Less Mexican, Italian, German, French, Moroccan, Indian to Less at Last.

I admired the writing style and the author’s sense of humour, so touching yet unforgiving in some places. Like this lines: “She was ostensibly German speaking, just as seventeen-year-old Less was ostensibly gay. Both had the fantasy; neither had carried it out.”

Integrity

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integrity (n.)

from Latin integritatem (nominative integritas) “soundness, wholeness, completeness,” figuratively “purity, correctness, blamelessness”

When you go back to the origin of words, things come sometimes into a long forgotten perspective.

What is integrity actually? How does it manifest? What kind of behaviour a person with integrity displays?

From my observations and writings by smarter people, integrity has a number of positive behavioural traits:

Humility: there is no pride, no sense of competition, no desire to prove anything or to anyone.

Kindness: a person acting with integrity will treat a CEO and a janitor with the same kindness.

Authenticity: there is no mask. Integrity has nothing to hide.

Reliability: you can always rely on people with integrity.

Honesty: integrity is open and truthful.

It’s about giving credit: integrity does not claim what is not hers.

Always on time: people with integrity respect your time and their own time.

Integrity will never offend: even under the cover of an anonymous on-line account.

Integrity is open minded and also knows when not to change its mind.

Integrity places an emphasis on emotional intelligence more than on IQ.

Integrity knows when and how to apologise. People with integrity know they are only human and keep themselves in check.

Integrity keeps its promise. People with integrity will be there for you, if they said so.

Integrity is intuitive and will not let harsh calculations have a decisive say.

Integrity will not take advantage of others vulnerabilities.

Integrity knows a hammer is not only for nails. It is also a sculpture’s  tool.

Integrity serves. It does not wait to be served.

Integrity has a great sense of humour and can LOL about itself.

Integrity results in accountability. If we act with integrity in all walks of life from parenting to interacting with colleagues and partners, the world has a change of becoming a better place.

When you think of it, when integrity is in place, harassment, discrimination, fraud, humiliation, deprivation and others stand NO chance.

 

Merci Paris

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Merci Paris

for the blue sky and sunny weather followed by majestic sunset colours

your Marmottan Monet little wonder, an improvised and brief visit into impressionism thanks to the invitation of an art history connoisseur

coffee bathed in sunlight and served with a warm smile at Carette.

for challenging my stereotypes and opening my eyes to see beyond appearances;

for the OECD meetings and networking leading to new partners and ideas to work on;

dinner in great company at Il Conte;

and the joy of Bucuria chocolate (bucuria means joy in Romanian), sent by my dearest friend through a joint acquaintance and all the warm this gesture brought from my homeland.

“Paper Wife” by Laila Ibrahim

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I was Intrigued by the title and the period it talks about. It narrates the story of a young Chinese woman who, by a turn of events, finds herself as a wife to a man she never met and a mother to a 3 year old. The title of the novel – “paper wife” – is a metaphor for the faked “documented” relationships for Chinese eager to immigrate to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.

The author did a great deal of research, so the reader can find out about the Angel Island Immigration Detention Center, in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese immigrants received the most scrutiny. They had to study hard the documents paid by their sponsors – husbands, uncles, brothers – who wanted to bring the dear ones to the United States. Th novel also describes the life in early China towns.

The central character is a strong feminine model who overcame difficulties and used whatever means she had to protect her family. Her believes and strong moral inheritance from her mother and grand mother are depicted with respect and admiration, owned to women who relied on their ancestral roots to let new roots of their families grow in a new land.

I found the novel a light reading, perfect for quiet evenings.

I see you

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My father said that I do not even know from which end to hold a ladle, hinting to my cooking skills (or rather their absence, in his view).

My grandmother never said anything. She always looked at me with eyes full of admiration and faith.

Today is 8 March and a part of humanity suddenly remembers to promote, cherish, congratulate women. As if they say “I see you”.  Does it make a difference? Perhaps. For flower shops in some countries it certainly does.

“I see you” everyday, day after day, is different. It requires effort and commitment.

“I see you, my talented, brave and beautiful daughter”

“I see you, mother of six, battling for your and your kids safety and sanity”

“I see you, orphan girl, struggling to find yourself into this new world”

“I see you, policewoman, holding the hand of a troubled street kid”

“I see you, single mother, fearing for your and your kid’s future”

“I see you, cleaning lady, pushing the cart on our office floor”

“I see you, human being”

This day is to me the day of those who see and help women, girls and boys, who would otherwise remain unseen on this day, or any other day.

Like this story and so many other http://www.md.undp.org/content/moldova/en/home/stories/femeia-care-viseaz-s-poat-cumpra-case-pentru-toate-supravieuitoa.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Red-Haired Woman” by Orhan Pamuk

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From the first pages, I realised that I missed Pamuk’s writing.

I read “My name is Red” couple of years ago and I liked it a lot.

“The red-haired women” is both surprising and unnerving. The story is build around the father-son relationship in different generations, from mythology to the story of the main character – Cem. Cem’s relationship with his father, a well digging master and later – his own son  are painted in all the shades of guilt, regret, revolt, admiration. As if unable to cope with all these emotions, fathers and sons end up with blood on their hands. It is in essence an exploration of the evolution of the meaning of fatherhood.

The end section narrated by the red-haired woman, brightens up a bit the finale. As “The Guardian” puts is “The twist in the tail isn’t perhaps quite as effective as that in My Name Is Red, but it still makes the reader feel as if they’ve emerged from the depths of a well into sudden and dazzling light.”