Artist that Paints Silence

A display of pictures of the Belarusian artist Valery Shkarubo has opened in Hiroshima
When I was younger and sillier I believed the artist Valery Shkarubo (we are almost of the same age) was not modern enough. What does he paint? Silence! He starts with whispers, then murmurs and ends in silent mind games. When you are young, you want it all to explode in a burst of sounds and colors, recusancy, intrigues and secrecy. What kind of secret can you keep in silence?

I got older and realized that life if filled with common everyday things and routine, and the absence of the things that seem to be worth living for is in fact the essence of life. This everyday life is of major importance, because the search for your true identity is much more complicated than any kind of struggle with what seems false.

The painting of Valery Shkarubo is a search for the sense of life, which may be achieved by studying the simplest things: roads, trees, water and air… “Pure” nature and humans. They say in the East that you may perceive the world without leaving your house and see the sky without looking out of the window. Shkarubo’s landscapes represent the whole world on a piece of canvas, an episode of commonness that is enough for an eager heart to see subtle poetry… A village road covered in thin ice, ripples on clear waters of a lake, thin twigs on white snow, the natural black-and-white beauty…

No super-, no trans-, no pan-… “The great perfection looks like a flaw, and the great mastery looks like inability…” Oriental wisdom in its best.

By the way, Valery Shkarubo is extremely popular in the East. After his personal display in Beijing in 2001 Chinese were asking him to stay and teach in their Arts Academy. This spring Shkarubo moved eastwards again, this time to Japan. First, it was Sendai, the twin-city of Minsk. A couple of days ago he had a personal exhibition in Hiroshima, and Tokyo will be the next city in his itinerary, which has almost all major Japanese cities. Valery Shkarubo is the first Belarusian artist that conquered the East — the privately-owned Japanese company “Art-Project”, which sponsored the vernissage was very happy about the proceeds and attention of the public. “Can I touch you hand, maestro?” a Japanese girl asked the Belarusian in the city of Sendai. So sweet. The most high-tech nation of the world that is capable of bridging faraway islands iconizes primary things like hand-made pictures, ingenuity and delicate workmanship.

— I noted some super-respect for person and personality, Shkarubo told me. — There is a river of people. I stop to take a picture, and the whole crowd stops and takes a long pause to let me take a good shot. Unbelievable.

The studio of the artist is empty now. Forty pictures are in Japan, another forty in Austria, in Vienna, and 15 more in the city gallery in Svetlogorsk.

— This may not sound modest, but I have always painted what I liked. And I live in a wonderful time with so many offers from all over Europe that I may choose where to have a persona exhibition, the artist says.
I see a small wooden box for business cards with engravings in his hands — a gift from the mayor of Sendai Nirosi-san. The artist thumbs through galleries: Paris, Padua, Venice, Rome, Dusseldorf…

by Yelena Doroshevich
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