Sirin (from the series ‘Playing Chess’
Ink, gel pen, gouache, paper
40 x 30 cm

Irina Tall Novikova

When your eyes are closed, you think that the world around you is freezing… But there is something behind the mountains that breathes and sings…

It is the song that accompanies Sirin in flight. His face is a mask behind which his thoughts are hidden. But the song awakens them and they themselves break out like winds and rush over the rocks…

Not those words that are true are those that are noticeable, but those that are inside the pages hidden with tart glue. And only feathers fly around, feathers of other birds….

– Irina Tall Novikova

Irina Tall Novikova, a graphic artist from Minsk, Belarus, weaves the fantastical into the fabric of reality with her ink, gel pen, and gouache creations. Her art commenced with a youthful fascination for mythological avians and beasts, evolving into a profound visual commentary on environmental conservation. Her series “The Red Book” speaks volumes on the plights of imperiled wildlife, merging aesthetic allure with a message of urgency.

Irina Tall Novikova’s mediums are as fluid as her subject matter, often blending watercolor, acrylic, and her favored gouache to craft scenes that are as enchanting as they are poignant. Her oeuvre is a testament to her versatility, spanning from detailed illustrations to spontaneous line drawings conceived in the mind’s eye and brought to life with a Baroque-inspired rhythm. Black and white cinema and the intricate melodies of Baroque music infuse her work with a timeless quality that transcends the conventional confines of modern art.

Her piece for the Salon de Refusées, ‘Sirin’ – from the series ‘Playing Chess’ – exemplifies Irina Tall Novikova’s evolution towards symbolism, encouraging viewers to delve into the intricacies of her art. Prior to ‘Playing Chess,’ Irina’s ‘Ghosts’ series marked the genesis of her experimentation with monotype, a technique that she further refined in the creation of ‘Sirin.

Irina Tall Novikova’s technique and color are a testament to the joy of artistic expression, resonating with the spirit of the Salon de Refusées: celebrating artistic exploration and the transformative power of creativity in the face of rejection.


The "Salon de Refusées" is an art initiative inspired by the historic 1863 Paris exhibition. It's a platform celebrating female (read) artists who've faced rejection, turning exclusion into empowerment. Our project is dedicated to showcasing art in its most authentic form, creating a space where diverse voices and stories are seen and revered. Join us in this artistic uprising, where each piece adds to our resilience and the unyielding spirit of creativity.