Biljana Sykes by Laurence Collis


As Laurence’s portrait of Biljana Sykes has joined us mid tour, it was not included in The Art of Reading catalogue, which can be found on Blurb.

As The Lots Road Group’s motto is Our Portrait, Your Story, words that accompany our work is equally as important as the portraits themselves.

Here is what Laurence had to say about her sitter, and what she, in turn, has to say about reading.

My sitter

I have painted my friend Biljana Sykes who is a yoga teacher and she is reading her father’s first novel, published last year.  She’s originally from Macedonia but has lived in London since 2000. Biljana is currently working on her biography which is about how her life has evolved since her divorce and the discovery that she had cancer.  She reassessed her life, she changed career, and with the help of many people she met on her journey, she is now happy and in remission.

Biljana Skyes on reading

In Laurence’s painting I am reading my father’s novel which has been published in his native Macedonian: Life: thoughts and wisdom. I like to read at home on my sofa, and occasionally on the plane – in fact, whenever I have a spare moment. I enjoy a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and if I had to choose a Desert Island book I would select Paolo Coelho’s ALEPH.

I like it because I can relate to both his voyage of self-discovery and his discovery of the world, which is relevant to the writing of my own biography. For me, reading means travelling into another person’s reality – their world.

Laurence Collis

Based in West Ealing, Laurence has a BA from Oxford Brookes University, studied portraiture at Heatherley’s and continuing studies at The Chelsea College of Art.  She has exhibited locally twice with the Ealing Art Group and twice in the Ealing Open Exhibition at the PM Gallery.  Her latest group exhibition was at the London Oratory School.  She also takes commissions.

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