Fantastic kingdom of philosopher from Boyary

Pinsk artist Sergey Zhilevich not only paints in the open air around his home but exhibits around the globe and has sold works at well-known international auction house Sotheby’s
By Yuri Chernyakevich

Sergey Zhilevich lives in the village of Boyary, in the Pinsk District, and is known by all local residents. They can all direct you to his home. One elderly lady I meet on the street tells me, “Oh, if you want the sculptor’s home, go straight ahead and, when you see the court yard filled with figures, you’ll know you’ve arrived.” Within a few footsteps, it’s obvious that I’ve found the right location. In the courtyard, there’s a 3m wooden statue of the Mother of God, with her baby. In the garden, where you might expect to see apple trees or tomatoes, there are a host of sculptures — each unique and worthy of attention.

It’s immediately obvious why Pinsk residents advise a trip to Boyary: the sculptures have the power to move even the coldest of hearts. One is inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupйry’s whimsical Little Prince, while another, an upturned flower entitled Fountain of Eternity, arouses nostalgia — remembrances sad and joyful. Near the house, a sculpted water sprite sits near a pond and arbour. All these marvels have been created by one person, making a magical world.

Sergey’s home is now included on all local tourist routes, so he’s used to welcoming visitors — not only from Belarus but elsewhere around the world. His 4,000 square metre plot is a unique outdoor gallery: a fantastic kingdom! Visitors are fascinated to see the home of a world famous artist; his sculptures are known across the USA and Europe. His Saint George was sold at Sotheby’s auction house recently, being bought by a UK private collector.

Mr. Zhilevich remains down to Earth: easy to chat to, without any airs or graces. He makes friendships quickly and is happy to share little details about his creativity, plans and ideas. He’s also happy to show people his latest works. Visitors to galleries can usually only dream of having such a garrulous guide.

Such is Sergey’s talent that he can create a work of art from any material to hand: wire, decayed wood, stone or, even, a glass bottle. Using an ordinary silicate block, he can cut out a postmodernist portrait. His mastery is impressive. “My works have been exhibited in Belarus, Spain and Poland but, mostly, in the USA and Germany. I often make them to order for private collections in the UK and elsewhere,” says Sergey. Certainly, his pieces are in steady demand. It’s hardly surprising, as the maestro is always searching for some new way to express himself. “I’m constantly experimenting and searching for something new, so I don’t have any particular style. Sometimes, I create abstract works and sometimes use a Cubistic style. However, I‘ve never tried Surrealism,” he admits, smiling.

After touring his outdoor gallery, he invites us into his house, where his paintings hang. He has an endless capacity to discuss his works and has now begun a new form of expression: writing poetry. He admits that it’s a whole new area for him but he’s already published a collection of verse. He tells us, “Poetry transports me, as do the sculptures and pictures I’ve created over many years. Let’s see what happens.”

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