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olya salimova is russian-american now living in US / she considers how her body has crossed borders and become a transplant / transformation and hybridity are the ideas and methods that guide her art practice  


salimova holds her bfa degree from the school of the art institute of chicago with her previous degree in philology and English, and an MBA / her multivalent life and work experiences – from translation to project management and from bodybuilding to arts – manifest themselves in experiments with many materials, techniques and approaches  


salimova currently lives and works in both MI and IL / she is an artist-in-residence at BOLT residency 2023-2024, chicago artist coalition / she exhibited her work in multiple group exhibitions in american midwest / she had two solo shows / her latest solo show titled the cyborgs undone, the ghosts came to light, the ancestors control the future took place in 2024, at chicago artists coalition 

what I know is what a bee does as she gathers knowledge through experience – the material of the flowers of the fields / as she uses the skills of her own to digest and transform it into something more than the bee herself / she does this in a form of honey, and she builds a colony
this is how knowledge is produced

i create sculpture, painting, and performance / my work engages with beeswax and circles around bee metaphors and observations – a bee as a laborer, a bee as a member of a hive society, a bee as a living organism who’s body is her own tool / combination and reuse of materials, experimentation and transformation describe the techniques and approaches of my art making

just like a bee – with her listening to a polyphonic world, laboring vigorously, moving from flower to flower, or from art project to art project – i make and craft / i am inspired by abandoned practices – crafts and (hi)stories such as wild-hive beekeeping, wax-working, folklore and rituals; but also my personal history that defines me as a woman, an immigrant, and a very resourceful person

bee-like, i use what I have – my knowledge, experience, intuition and talents – to explore such fertile subjects and intersection of the personal and the cultural, migration, memory, history, time, and poetry to constantly produce a new knowledge about myself and my labor

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the cyborgs undone, the ghosts came to light, the ancestors control the future, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago, IL 


Beesworks, SITE Galleries, Chicago, IL     

Group Shows


Elemental Impact, Epiphany Center for the Arts, Chicago IL

Works in Progress, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago, IL 

Form Within: Unveiling Hidden Aesthetics, CSI Project Space, Chicago, IL

Alive, CSI Project Space, Chicago, IL

Dreamer Warriors, Detroit Artists Market, Detroit, MI

Seeds Of Change / Resilience, 22 North, Ypsilanti, MI

MSA Select, Pam Miller Downtown Art Center, Lexington, KY

Story Time, CSI Project Space, Chicago, IL 

Concerning Landscape, DAM, Detroit, MI

Little But Bold, CSI Project Space, Chicago, IL


Responding to Rhythms, Beverly Arts Center, Chicago, IL        

By Degrees, 3D4D, Chicago Sculpture International, Chicago, IL 


COME|BACK, SAIC Galleries Wellness Center, Chicago, IL        

Don’t Mind The Thing, Wedge Projects, Chicago, IL

New Work 2021, SAIC Galleries, Chicago, IL         

Making It, SAIC Galleries Wellness Center, Chicago, IL

Import/Export Exhibition, Kent State University, Kent, OH

Where We Are, SITE Galleries, SAIC, Chicago, IL    


Art Over COVID, online                                            

Art-In-Place, CNL Projects+Terrain Exhibitions, MI-IL  




Rememberings, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago, IL


Origins, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago, IL

Excavations, Middle Folk Ranch, Lions, CO


Consecrations, SITE Galleries, Chicago, IL

Work, SITE Galleries, Chicago, IL

Space Travel, online 

Body Into Dill, residential space in Brooklyn, MI 


Muscle Memory, Brooklyn, MI-Chicago, IL

Community work


Beeswax wrapper workshop, campus of School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL



Fund Your Practice Grant, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL 



Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL 


School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL




BOLT Residency, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago, IL



welcome to my studio


this is a place where i dream, make, and think / i am a visual artist whose practice sprawls across painting, sculpture, performance, and poetry

when i work in my studio, i view myself as a gardener, and my studio work is a gardening practice

i sow seeds of creativity, they propagate, then grow / and i like to propagate several things at a time / the gardening aspect is important because often i work with beeswax and this is where bees come from / an artist works like a bee / through this bee metaphor, i speak to the perpetual labor artists put in working with the substances they have at their disposal

there is a cycle of what bees, beekeepers, and artists do / as for me, there is a cycle to my work too – i delve into new art forms periodically and my process consists of micro-cycles: visualizing, making, questioning, listening to the material of choice, questioning again, writing, and reflecting


my approach is both a backward- and forward-looking: i like to use the materials that have been lying in and around my studio for some time, found, or gifted, and to create something new / i like to think of myself as a neo-mythic apiphilic archi-materialist:)


by neo-mythic i mean that i create new myths to replace old ones / apiphilic simply means that i am fond of bees / the archi-material approach means that i use old materials – both in a sense of abandonment and familiar through history, like beeswax, wood, steel, and leather


i want to guide you away from the studio for just a moment...


i am on the move a lot – walking, driving, or taking a train / when i do that, i think of questions that i ask myself, reflecting on my own work and see where they stem from / being on the road is really helpful because that is where the thinking happens / this way, i can see how all processes inform each other / all are equal, necessary and important / among many thoughts that visit me when i drive is a though about what will be left here after us / my work is both informed by the past and alluding to the future

back to the studio

currently, my studio is in chicago because i am an artist-in-residence in BOLT Chicago Artists Coalition / my work evolved quite a bit since i've come here / i began to think more poetically about the the work i do / finding new words to describe or discover the elements in my art-making practice that propel it forward is exciting to me / when it comes to figurative art, the images i create now are of beings in a perpetual state of transformation / they are forming and fading away like all images are

a note on performance:

my performances are often collaborations with both professional artists and non-artists

my goal is to create friendships, but also to explore a hybrid intersection of arts – an experiment

i am inspired by ideas of transmutation, as well as creating a highly transformative experience for all artists involved in the project / by bringing our practices together, we are welcoming the potential to transform our own practices and  see where it will lead in the future

what's new

this section is coming soon

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photography by lillian heredia

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239 Nottingham Dr., Brooklyn, MI 49230

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for commissions, lectures, performances, collaborations please connect via email:

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