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‘Amazing Animals’, or Fantastic fairy tale compositions

The Art Café of the National Art Museum presents an exhibition of paintings on porcelain and fabric by Emilia Fokina — comprising 50 works from the author’s collection
Emilia Fokina comes from the Russian city of Tomsk. In 1959, she graduated from the Odessa Art College Department of Ceramics. Her artistry can be divided into three major periods: Kuban, Northern and Belarusian.

Belarusian motifs in creativity of Russian painter Emilia Fokina

In the Kuban period, she worked with china at the Krasnodar Porcelain Factory. Her work from the time reflects the diversity of the folk artistry of that region. The second period of Emilia’s artistry is associated with the Russian North. She studied art of Northern nations which was very different to anything else she’d worked on. During those periods, the artist participated in regional, national, zonal and all-Union exhibitions in cities such as Krasnodar, Arkhangelsk, Rostov-on-Don, Kirov, Murmansk, Moscow and Leningrad. In 1973, Emilia Fokina became a member of the Union of Artists.

Moving to Belarus began one of the most prolific periods in the artist’s life. Her ornamental decor was often interwoven with pictorial motifs and Emilia’s vases ‘Festival’, ‘Flourish, Native Belarus’ and ‘Minsk — Hero-City’ embody the collective image of Belarus. Heraldic ornaments successfully combine with cityscapes and memorable places of Minsk in a series of tablemats entitled: ‘The City of My Mother’. Elements of folk art are used in her tea sets — ‘Paparats-Kvetka’, ‘Tartlet’ and ‘Still Life’, in addition to decorative vases titled: ‘Bird Paradise’ and ‘Belovezhskaya Fairy Tale’.

In recent years, Ms. Fokina has been fascinated by decorative painting on fabric. In her student years, she was familiar with works of the masters of the Ukrainian village of Petrikovka. In Belarus, Emilia studied folk painting on wood and fabric. Her unique susceptibility to folk art appeared in fantastical compositions, where the main role belongs to birds and animals. Emilia’s work is bright and surprisingly subtle in colour and psychological mood, her ‘He and She’ series was exhibited at Republican exhibitions. In turn, her, ‘21st Century’ series is shown here for the first time. Their patterns are clear and fine, with striking colour combinations.

It was in Belarus where Emilia’s talent for teaching was discovered. She headed the Krynichka Studio at the Republican Centre of Children and Youth’s Folk Art for 29 years. No other studio has ever enjoyed such diversity. With her guidance, children mastered Belarusian ‘malyavanka’ (painted carpets), became familiar with the art of straw weaving, modelling, doll and vytinanka making, learned to make puppets and create ‘vytinanki’ (paper cutting). They also were encouraged to express their fantasies in graphic and pictorial compositions. Emilia Fokina’s creative and pedagogical activity contributes to the preservation and development of the traditions of Belarusian arts and crafts.

By Veniamin Mikheev

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