Landscapes reflect our soul

Recently, Brest has been looking rather foggy and gloomy, just as depicted by Minsk artist Valery Shkarubo. It may be wise to admire autumn’s beauty from under the safety of an umbrella. Alternatively, we can visit Brest Art Museum to view Valery’s canvases. These show us snow-covered fields at twilight and firs shrouded in mist and night shadows, with the road stretching into the distance. He paints Belarusian landscapes in different seasons, and in different moods

By Valentina Kozlovich

The personal show by one of Belarus’ leading artists, State Award holder Valery Shkarubo, features 26 paintings and will be open in Brest for about a month. “These landscapes need more space than we can offer — not because there are so many of them but because Valery boasts a deep understanding of nature; his pictures are full of energy. No one is left indifferent: professional or layman. Mr. Shkarubo has universal appeal,” stresses Brest graphic painter Lev Alimov.

Mr. Shkarubo admits that he does not try to reveal more than is depicted on his landscapes. “Nature is close to my soul and is not always filled with sunshine. However, it is tranquil, which places it closer to the inner world of many Belarusians. Simultaneously, it shows the depth of our human soul,” the artist notes.

Of course, anyone can search for metaphors in his canvases, inventing hidden feelings and images. However, we can simply admire his works for what they are: simple depictions of our landscapes in subdued, yet rich, colours. His talent is clear. “Mr. Shkarubo is not a melancholic,” emphasises Mr. Alimov. “Rather, he is deep, with a strong personality. Of course, darkness does not automatically indicate sorrow; sadness can exist in paintings which appear bright and amusing. Mr. Shkarubo demonstrates an easy love for his homeland. His works are touching and show that he is in love with his life. I visited his workshop eight years ago and found it empty; his works are in great demand.”

During the opening ceremony, the host noted that Marc Chagall’s granddaughter owns a painting by Mr. Shkarubo, showing the significance of the artist. I personally doubt that Valery loves such flattery, since anyone who views, or purchases, his pictures can clearly see his talent. Those created by the Minsk artist hang in galleries in Belarus, Russia, China and Germany, as well as in private collections in the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Austria, Slovenia, Denmark, Poland, Turkey, China and Japan.

Several days after the first night, I again visited the exhibition. Without photographers or cameramen present, I could concentrate on Mr. Shkarubo’s pictures and agree with Mr. Alimov: this artist loves life. Moreover, he is truly accessible, creating landscapes outside of time and fashion. There is no need for ‘clever facial expressions’ on viewing his Touch or Sad Twilight. Nor do we need to look for hidden motifs or mysteries. We should simply admire his talent, which enables him to capture moments which most of us ignore.

The show has already toured Baranovichi, Bobruisk, Slutsk, Gomel and Mogilev. In mid-December, Valery Shkarubo’s canvases head for Grodno, from Brest.

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