Natalya Nesterova, a figurative artist, became a member of the Artists’ Union of the USSR in 1969, a short year after graduating from Moscow’s Surikov Art Institute. She was soon considered a leading member of the left wing of the Union, and at age twenty-two took part in the exhibits of the Young Moscow Artists. Creating works in a figurative primitivist manner while often depicting grotesque imagery, Nesterova was sometimes accused of undermining the foundations of Russian professional artistic training. The appeal and popularity of her work seemed only enhanced by such critiques. Nesterova returns often to the theme of fate and enlightenment with religious connotations and elements of theater. At the opening of her major 1992 retrospective at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Nesterova was asked to explain the meaning of her works. In halting English, she explained that she wants the viewer to find their own meaning in her work.