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The Virtual Exhibition ‘Uladzimir Damarad. Veteran Artist’ Dedicated to the Victory Day

The collection of the National Art Museum had had only five works by the Babrujsk artist before. In 2020, Minsk landscape painter Siamion Damarad, the artist’s son, donated 14 graphic works by his father to the museum. We display these works at the exhibition. 

The art of Uladzimir Damarad (1919-2005) is inseparably linked with Babrujsk. His paintings depict the townsfolk’s images and a number of events which affected the visage of the town. The artist created a lot of interesting works in the genres of thematic picture and landscape including industrial images of Babrujsk.

Uladzimir Damarad was born in Babrujsk in 1919. The town was occupied by Polish troops at that moment. The artist’s Alma Mater was the Viciebsk Art School. Uladzimir Damarad was perfectly taught by Lieu Liejtman, Fiodar Fogt and Valiantsin Dziezhyts who founded the Viciebsk watercolor school. After the artist had finished his studies in 1939, he worked in the Babrujsk Collective-Farming Theater, where he designed a number of performances in the pre-war years.

Uladzimir Damarad was at the front since 1942. He was a sniper for some time, and after being wounded he was sent to the Komsomol work. After returning home, he again worked as a theatre designer in the Russian Theater of Babrujsk region. The artist also worked as a custodian in the Local History Museum.

In April 1948, A. Astrouski, a member of the Union of Artists, and Uladzimir Damarad who was a candidate member of the Union represented Babrujsk region at the II Congress of the Union of Artists of the BSSR. After that, they established the ‘Association of Artists of Babrujsk Region’.

Veterans Artists (Uladzimir Damarad in the middle)

Uladzimir Damarad was actively exhibited. The viewer and critics were attracted by the oil painting ‘Laying of Wreaths at the Tomb of Bakharov’. It was the artist’s triumph in the post-war years. At that time, a general trend in the Soviet art was the creation of large patriotic pictures. The painting was shown at the 1953 Republican Exhibition. The last time it was exhibited at the Central House of Officers in Minsk in 1953. Most likely, it was donated to the club of the military unit.

Uladzimir Damarad worked in various methods for the first fifteen post-war years. However, watercolor became more prevalent by the end of the 1950s.

New young artists burst into the art world of Babrujsk in the 1960s. They marginalized their older colleagues step by step.

Only Uladzimir Damarad’s works were systematically continued to be noted at exhibitions by journalists and art critics. The artist was able to fit the ‘new time’. Uladzimir Damarad caught the theme in his art. In the 1960s, the views of Babrujsk under construction made in watercolour technique became the artist’s main theme for a long time. This is a kind of Uladzimir Damarad’s signature.

Padlužža’. 1967. (water color on paper)

The first solo exhibition in connection with the 50th anniversary of the artist was held in 1969. The industrial landscapes of Babrujsk dominated the exposition. The author is presented as a chronicler and an artist who has logical thinking. His industrial landscapes demonstrate a confident professionalism and following traditions of the Viciebsk watercolor school.

Babrujsk. New Wharf’. 1971. (water color on paper)

Babrujsk Wharf’. 1973. (water color on paper)

The artist painted landscapes with excavators and dump trucks on waste land, the foundation of factory buildings, with high boiler station pipes and rail tracks of some Babrujsk enterprises. He depicted the Tyre Works, the Central Heating and Power Plant 2 and the Lenin Machine-Building Factory.

The artist liked painting the wharf with boats and barges, port cranes and mountains of sand and logs, quiet and smooth surface of the river like a mirror reflecting sunrises and sunsets with different tones of spring, summer and autumn. The Biarezina River in his paintings appears as a tireless worker, carrying a lot of rafts to the forest combine that is also painted a lot. The artist carefully drew the work flow of forwarding wood to processing plants.

‘Flow of the Biarezina River’. 1968. (water color on paper)

Uladzimir Damarad’s creative preferences developed over a long period of time. We watch the artist working within the style of his time in his thematic paintings and industrial landscapes. The artist tenderly painted his native Babrujsk land and its wonderful nature, especially the Biarezina views with endless floodplain meadows, confluents, lakes and oxbows. Babrujsk landscapes are the Motherland and places important to the artist.


‘Autumn near Babrujsk’. 1998. (water color on paper)
(Gifted by Siamion Damarad)

 

‘On the Pcič River’. 1988. (water color on paper)
(Gifted by Siamion Damarad)

It should not go unspoken the artist’s remarkable efficiency. The artist came to the studio and worked from year to year, from day to day, until the end of his life. This entailed regular solo exhibitions which took place every five years.

‘Nice Catch’. 1987. (water color on paper)
(Gifted by Siamion Damarad)

The art of Uladzimir Damarad is a long journey of the artist across his country and its culture, traditions and ideology. His numerous paintings depict the life of the Fatherland, both in tragic years and during economic recovery and development, images of close and distant people, the beauty and lyricism of the country’s nature. The industrialization of his hometown is an unusual theme. Over the decades, the works by the artist have had historical importance. They have become a picturesque evidence of the industrial formation of his town. 

‘Malyja Baraniki Farm’. 1969. (water color on paper)
(Gifted by Siamion Damarad)

Gennadi Blagutin

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From the article ‘Industrialization of Bobruisk in the Art of Vladimir Domorad’, Nefyodov Readings, 2020