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"The Stream of Time". Art works by Belarusian artists celebrating their jubilee in 2021 as part of the project ‘Our Collections’

This is the 15th one in a series of group exhibitions dedicated to the art of jubilee artists of the year. Such exhibitions have become traditional in our museum. They have been held since 2008 (in some years, there were several separate exhibitions of this kind in different ‘formats’, sometimes there were none).

Today, the painting section includes the works by only 100-year-old artists and older, ‘old masters’ of the Belarusian painting of the 20th century. This limitation is based on the number of these artists and the quantity and quality of their works in the museum’s collection. Although, their age is equally respectable, the artists are noticeably different in their art worlds.

This year marks the 140th anniversaries of classic ‘academician’ Valiantsin Volkau and ‘post-impressionist’ Mikhail Staniuta, who did not receive formal art education. Their activities present two different approaches to reality – the former has detached and professional one, but the other shows more emotional and immediate. The first approach enables to express own feelings openly, the second one ensures the creation of a harmonious world where ‘unchangable’ art rules prevail. The museum permanent exhibition has the ‘Portrait of the Daughter’ by Staniuta and the ‘July 3, 1944’ by Volkau.

The exhibition also displays only a few works by artists Aron Kastsialianski and Uladzimir Khrustaliou. The painting by the former was taken to Germany during the war, later returned, and not so long ago, its long restoration was completed. In addition to its art value, it is a historical and an architectural document.

Although, the exhibition is small, it makes it possible in some cases to watch the evolution of painters and individual artistic expressions of Abram Zaborau, Kanstantsin Kasmachou and Abram Astrouski. Mikalaj Duchyts, Siarhiej Katkou, Alhierd Malisheuski and Valiantsin Volkau had the opportunity to be developed in accordance with their internal needs. Among the exhibitors are outstanding portrait painters Barys Niapomniashchy, Isak Barouski, Mikalaj Valyniets, Eduard Kufko, Volkau, sculptors Naftal Rapaport, Mark Rabierman, who worked in Belarus for some time, Gienadz Muramtsau and Jauhien Sanko. The portrait is surely one of the most difficult genres in art. Almost all artists were engaged in landscape. But, for example, Mikalaj Duchyts, Barys Zvinahrodski, Halina Azhur and Uladzimir Starchakou are landscape painters. They were successful in the genre. The landscape provided artists with more freedom of expression in the days of ideologically charged culture. This is also related to still lifes – sometimes things can most sincerely express the master’s ‘way of thinking’, for example, the works by Malisheuski, Katkou and Volkau.

We hope that it will be interesting for visitors to look at unexpected works by well-known artists or by previously unknown masters for them.