Explore History + Resilience Through This Artist’s Mixed-Media Works


Portrait of Radna Segal with multiple of her artworks hanging on the wall behind her

Radna Segal’s creative explorations of drawing, painting, sculpting and lithography began when she was a young girl. But it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that her passion became a vocation. “The lockdown was so dramatic and shocking for me, all I could do was make art,” says Segal, who calls Boulder home. Here, the artist shares her thoughts on her work’s roots and future.

How does your cultural heritage inform your art? I was born in Elista, Kalmykia, Russia, which is the only predominantly Buddhist region in Europe. Kalmykia’s history and religious roots inspire much of my work. 

What materials do you favor? I like to use experimental materials like plaster, foil, feathers, glitter, wood, nails and beads. Harder materials create movement in my work. Wood and plaster resemble mountainous earth, while beads create swirls and mystery, and nails show toughness on an otherwise soft canvas. 

Tell us about how you incorporate ancient Mongolian Clear Script. I learned to write Clear Script in elementary school. It was a part of Kalmyk education to learn our native writing style before our assimilation into Russian society. You read it by scanning your eyes up and down. I started off by incorporating just one word—Radna—into my artwork. Now I’m brave enough to write a whole poem. 

In what other ways is your work evolving? I want to invite more softness into my pieces, and hopefully that will inspire more softness in people viewing my art, too. I want them to feel moved by history and inspired to take action. To feel bold, resilient and undaunted. And that we can make it through tough times because we’ve been here before.