top of page
Hold Your Breath, 2016

"Hold your breath" is the very personal story of artist Paulina Siniatkina about something that is usually treated with silence. She starts almost quiet, with semi-transparent watercolors. But her voice becomes stronger. In tempera on canvas she formulates questions and makes a statement. Paulina found herself in a difficult situation. But what doesn’t break you, makes you stronger. Since May 2015 she spent 6 months and 17 days in a tuberculosis clinic. She went through fear, misunderstanding, anger, despair, loneliness, silence, love, friendship and hope, and left the hospital with a series of artworks that tell the stories of people who shared her fate.

Many people still believe that tuberculosis is a ‘social disease’. The contrary is true. A miner, as well as a teacher, or a banker, or a dancer, or an artist can catch this terrible disease. However it is still very difficult to rise above the public’s opinion and express your story. Who never had to hide something for society, out of the fear to be judged and unaccepted? It is hard even to admit it for yourself, but not for Paulina.

Ekaterina Polozhentseva (curator)

Who never had to hide something for society, out of the FEAR to be judged and                                                             unaccepted?
       It is HARD even to admit it for yourself.

In 2015 the vector of my life changed radically, when I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. I spent 7 months in isolation in a special TB clinic. Living so close to death and facing stigma made a huge impact on my personal development. I turned my hospital chamber into an atelier and painted the reality I saw. 12 canvases, 7 watercolors, 2 videos and 1 installation – all were made inside the walls of the TB hospital on the outskirts of Moscow.

My main purpose was to fight the stigma surrounding the disease. Before I was diagnosed myself I didn’t know anything about TB. But the first words I’ve heard from my doctor were: “Don’t tell anyone”.


Tuberculosis is a dangerous disease surrounded with stereotypes, fear and silence. TB remains to be number one infectious killer in the world.

First exhibition “Hold your breath” was opened in 2016 in Omelchenko gallery in Moscow. Later it was shown in Geneva and Bratislava during the medical conferences on lung health. I became an activist and co-founder of TBpeople, the first global network of people with experience of tuberculosis. My exhibition continued to travel the world spreading awareness about TB.

Even though I am an artist all my life, I consider “Hold your breath” as a starting point of my artistic career. As since then 'stigma around social diseases' became the leading theme of my artistic research.

If you buy an artwork from these series, I'll donate 50 % of the price to end TB. Write me an email to check availability. 

bottom of page