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In Anticipating of the Spring: Women and Belarusian Art Pottery of the 20th

Archaeologists consider that first ever potters were women. Most of the Neolithic era pieces of art were made by them. Perspicacious women noticed that animal tracks or people’s footsteps, left on the ground, became solid and could store fluid after a shower. Then they tried to use these molds as dishes in cave ‘kitchens’. However, such ‘dishes’ quickly broke. Once, someone noticed that a ‘pot’ accidentally thrown into the fire after burning became solid and served much longer. So, outsight and imagination led to the creation of pottery.

Clay is ground, and the woman, like the ground, is fruitful. Therefore, pottery is a plastic art, and at the same time solid, concordant with womanhood. For a reason, there are so many Belarusian talented women artists who are engaged in pottery.

The collection of arts and crafts of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, which began to be actively formed in the 1960s, contains about 200 pieces of pottery by a lot of authors, mainly women: Jawgenija Musinskaja, Viktoryja Dranchuk, Lilija Nishchyk, Zarynia Bartruk, Natallia Jawglewskaja, Tamara Kurachytskaja, Neli Jakavenka, Alena Kudrawtsava, Tamara Vasiuk, Faina Khaminich, Alena Shchasnaja, Aliawtsina Masienka, etc.

This exhibition presents the artists’ art that is in harmony with spring mood, and emphasizes the sensual woman’s talent – lyricism, grace, tenderness, and special themes – an inimitable cat’s movement of the women body, flowers and poetry of natural motifs.

A lot of these works are molded in clay, being in fact, small ceramic sculptures, and others are made of coal clay using salts and enamels. The coal clay (in French chamotte) has become a legend in the art of pottery. This material has recently appeared in our life, but has already become fashionable. Chamotte has a rough structure. It is very pleasant to touch. It looks like an ‘old’ natural stone, weathered by the winds, with its cracks and chips. This material is associated with stability, a sense of peace and reliability. Its decorative qualities depicting archaic character and olden time are especially appreciated.

The chamotte ceramics allow artists to get closer to the nature that people need in the era of globalization.

The pottery pieces, being intimate and warm, are always magnetic and unique.

Irina Schastnaya. 1970. Tulips. 2008. Coal clay, glaze, blackening

Nelli Yakovenko. 1935. Seated. 1966. Clay, glaze

Tamara Vasyuk. 1952. Icons. 1999. Coal clay, colored masses, author’s method

Nelli Yakovenko. 1935. On the Beach. 1966. Clay modeling

Elena Kudryavtseva. 1961. Sirin. Night, Day…. 1992. Coal clay, colored masses, engobe

Nelli Yakovenko. 1935. Nude. 1966. Clay modeling

Natalia Evglevskaya. 1955. Rain. 1998. Coal clay, enamels

Tamara Kurochitskaya. 1949. Shell. 2004. Coal clay, colored masses

Tamara Sokolova. 1950. Cat. 1985. Coal clay, casting

Natalia Evglevskaya. 1955. Near the Chapel. 2006. Coal clay, enamel, glaze

Faina Khominich. 1942. Dream. 2006. Coal clay, salts

Alevtina Mosienko. 1947. Studio of Robots. 1998. Coal clay, salts, engobe, glaze

Nelli Yakovenko. 1935. Rest. 1966. Majolica, black glaze

Natalia Evglevskaya. 1955. In the Land of Light and Warmth. 1986. Coal clay, glazes, enamels