Asiza is an artist who has been drawing the female figure since she was 6 as a way of staying connected to her lost twin.
My name is Asiza and I am a fine artist living in Vancouver, Canada.
My story sounds crazy — even to me.
When I was 35, my parents revealed a deeply guilt-ridden secret to me—I was adopted, and I had an identical twin sister half a world away in Romania. My twin, Gina, and I were separated at the age of 4. It would be 47 years before we saw each other again.
Growing up as an only child, first in Romania and later defecting to Canada at the age of 11 with my parents, I had always longed for a sister and I’m now convinced that my innate desire to draw female figures was a way of staying connected to my twin.
The thing that still brings tears to my eyes is that my sister always knew about my existence, but I never knew about hers—I can only imagine how tormenting that was for her.
All those years, my mother had prevented Gina from contacting me, and my sister suffered greatly as a result. Even after telling me, my mom asked me to keep the secret of my sister within my immediate family. For many years, I lived in fear of people finding out and judging my parents. It was exhausting to hide behind the mask of their guilt and shame.
For the past 24 years, we have spoken almost daily but it wasn’t until 2014 that I paid Gina a surprise visit in Romania. Then in 2019, she spent a month with me in Vancouver where we never left each other’s side—walking hand in hand, doing twin things, and reminiscing about what could have been. It was thrilling and satisfying to be a part of Gina having so many first experiences during her visit: first time having sushi; first Indian curry; first tacos; first gay pride parade; first salon haircut & colour; first pedicure; first fireworks; first ferry trip; and the first time meeting my husband and kids.
Although I loved my mom unconditionally and appreciated all the sacrifices she had made for me to have a better life in Canada, it was difficult for me to forgive her for burdening me with her guilt and from knowing my twin sooner. Out of respect for her wishes, it wasn’t until 16 years later, after both my parents had passed away, that I had the courage to start the healing process. Sharing my story through my art and pursuing my passion for painting was truly liberating. I am proud to say that I am a full-time professional artist now.
I do have regrets for not having the courage to begin painting professionally sooner, but I am living proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Gina and I still speak almost every day—we have decades of catching up to do. She had secretly been the inspiration behind my art for so long.
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