One day Andrius runs into Lina’s shack, saying that the NKVD are looking for her. Lina reveals she stole a pen. Elena is alarmed, but Andrius clarifies that the commander wants Lina to draw his portrait. Lina wants to refuse to do it, but Andrius and Elena point out she has no choice. Andrius urges Lina to make the portrait realistic and flattering. Lina wants to draw the commander with hollow black eyes and snakes sprouting from his neck, but she knows she cannot do that. They discuss what Lina should ask for in return.
The deportees are rightly alarmed at any indication that the NKVD is singling them out—even if, in this case, it is for Lina’s artistic talent. Like Edvard Munch, Lina seeks to create artwork that is a realistic representation of how she feels the world—not how it physically exists. She feels that the commander is evil, and if she were drawing honestly, she would portray him as such.