Ukrainian model-DJ-turned-artist tries hand at religious painting | Inquirer Entertainment

Ukrainian model-DJ-turned-artist tries hand at religious painting

/ 12:20 AM December 22, 2023



If Arthur Tselishchev looks like a male model, it’s because he started out as one. The 33-year-old Ukrainian national moved to the Philippines eight years ago where he has taken stabs at different types of work including interior design, photography and teaching.

“I was also a disc jockey in another life. I built up my network in the country and began practicing my other skills, like photography and videography. I became creative director of the fashion week here, and I’ve also been asked to be a teacher,” he told Entertainment last week.


Painting is one of Arthur’s “priorities” now as well as designing interiors and giving talks on art like the one he recently gave at the National Museum for students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.


Three months ago, he started work on an oil painting of St. John de Matha, founder of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives. It was unveiled last weekend during the memorial for the saint at the local mission located in Merville Subdivision in Parañaque.

Tselishchev (fourth from left) with Miguel Anzures, Denis Yogore, Fr. Richard Giner and Fr. Charles Flood

Tselishchev (fourth from left) with Miguel Anzures, Denis Yogore, Fr. Richard Giner and Fr. Charles Flood —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Religious painting

Described by some as “the forgotten friar,” De Matha was one of the key figures in the movement of liberating captive Christians from the hands of the Moors during the Crusades. In his rendition, Arthur painted the saint looking to his left beyond the frame; in his right hand is an unlocked prisoner’s cuff and in his right, a book representing knowledge.

He incorporated uniquely Filipino elements into the piece including anahaw fronds; a crimson fabric swath with woven details representing the different tribes from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao; a cloud formation of human figures bearing a nipa hut to represent the bayanihan spirit; and Mt. Kitanglad, an inactive volcano in Bukidnon, Mindanao. That last element was included as a nod to Fr. Richard Giner who hails from the province and is the first Filipino priest to lead the Trinitarian mission here in the country.

The subject of this dramatic religious painting is worlds apart from the images Arthur regularly posts on his Instagram account (, which consist mainly of female nudes or women wearing stylized Filipiniana. He was chosen for the project by his friend, Miguel Anzures, an alumnus of the DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland in the United States.

Miguel only recently learned about the Philippine mission and reached out to Father Richard. The two got to talking and Miguel broached the idea of commissioning a painting to be donated by him and Denis Yogore, another alumnus of DeMatha, with the intention of helping spread the word on the Trinitarians in the country and their mission to free captives.

“Our hope is that other alumni will be interested in helping the mission here, whether it’s by donating money or their time because not a lot of the alumni are aware,” Miguel said.


For Arthur, however, taking on the project was a no-brainer for him given how his homeland Ukraine continues to be besieged by Russia.

“I felt really connected to the story because St. John de Matha helped prisoners of war. One of my missions is to send aid to injured children in the Ukraine, so I’ve been working with embassies and consulates on different fundraising initiatives,” Arthur said.

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He is already in the midst of preparing for a new exhibit set to open in the first quarter of 2024.

TAGS: Artist, painting

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