First Exhibition of the work of contemporary Russian artists in Australia
Now the church is empty;
The schoolhouse is firmly locked,
Crops are deserted in the fields,
And the dark grove is forsaken.
The village and the houses,
Stand burnt and all is quiet,
Except for the cemetery,
It is never empty, never still.
Aleksandr Pushkin, “Feast during the plague” (1830)
Art is a beacon of light in times of darkness and despair. In a world plunged into depression because of the COVID-19 virus, we turn to our artists for hope and inspiration.
From the 19th century, Russian-born artists like Nicholas Chevalier came to Australia and made a huge contribution to the art of this country. In the 20th century, Danila Vassilieff, became one of the most important artists for the development of modernism in Australia. Artists from Russia and artists of Russian origin continue to play an important role in contemporary Australian visual culture.
The aim of this modest exhibition is threefold. Firstly, to appreciate the work of Russian artists in this country and to note their diversity and talent. Secondly, to provide artists with the opportunity to collectively exhibit their work at a time when most art galleries are closed. Thirdly, for us as an audience, to receive joy and inspiration from the work of these artists.
As curator, I have adopted a very ‘broad church’ approach to allow as many professional artists as possible to participate with their respective styles and means of expression. There will be three instalments in this exhibition: the first now, at the end of April, then the second in mid-May and the last in June, when more work will be added to the website. I have no idea what the end result will be, but for all of us it will be an exciting journey.
I thank all the artists for their participation, and Vladimir Kuzmin (Editor) and Leonid Tsvetkov (website designer) from the newspaper “Unification” for hosting this exhibition and allowing this adventure in art to occur.
Sasha Grishin AM, FAHA
Emeritus Professor, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia