Jiřн Karas’ own original view of his surrounding

Třebнč and Studio photographic exhibitions by young Czech painter, hosted by Minsk’s University of Culture Gallery, stand out amongst sea of cultural events
By Victor Mikhailov

Jiřн Karas Junior has inherited much from his father, also called Jiřн, including a sincere love of art. In fact, his father, Jiřн Karas, is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to Belarus, whose genuine interest in Belarusian culture is widely known.

His son’s creativity is our subject of interest however. What inspired him to call one of his exhibitions Třebнč — after the ancient European city? It is a unique example of many centuries of co-existence of Christian and Jewish cultures. Its Jewish quarter of Zamosti, of over 120 houses, remains almost completely intact, prompting UNESCO to include the city on its protected list. Třebнč is the first independent Jewish monument to be located beyond the borders of Israel. Its two ancient synagogues are true pearls of architecture; the Jewish cemetery’s earliest burial dates back to 1625. 

Meanwhile, the Christian monastery of St. Procope was erected in the early 13th century, standing as a prominent monument in Romanesque style (as seen in Moravia).

Most importantly, Třebнč is the young man’s native city, where he was born to the famous Czech parliamentarian (the first Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Belarus - Jiřн Karas). He received his education there and is now a third year student at the Film Academy in Czech Pнsek. Třebнč photo exhibition shows us the city of his childhood rather than tourist shots of historical monuments. Its 24 photographs reveal the city’s wonderful tiled roofs and the balconies of typical urban ‘panel’ houses, ancient grave stones and modern park benches, power stations and baroque style palaces.

His Studio comprises just six shots, taken during visits to the artistic workshops of famous Belarusian painters last year. We see patriarchs of Belarusian pictorial art: Arlen Kashkurevich, Georgy Poplavsky, Boris Arakcheev and Leonid Dudarenko. Jiřн captures an intimacy which allows us to feel that we know his subjects well. Although small, the exhibition is worth viewing.

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