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Master’s complex fate

Minsk’s National Art Museum is first to host works by talented Gomel artist, Valery Lyashkevich
By Andrey Fiodorov

This homeless, blue-eyed old man, who draws his pictures in Gomel’s streets, is a local sight for city residents and a true phenomenon for art critics. Really, this artist is worthy of careful attention.

Valery Lyashkevich studied at the art colleges of Yaroslavl and Bryansk and also attended courses at St. Petersburg’s, Ilya Repin State Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Since then, his life of a wandering artist between St. Petersburg (which provided him with valuable experience) and his native Gomel (whose streets are his true home now) began. Railway passages or benches in the city’s quiet yards have been Valery’s shelter for two decades. Stairways or baggage rooms at the local railway station or even the concrete street pavement are his artistic workshops.

The artist has presented twenty five works to Minsk’s public — all united by the philosophical theme of the ‘conflict of opposites’. Actually, the problem of choice is key in Valery’s artistry. Painted with different materials (such as graphite, acrylic or a ball-point pen), all the pictures reflect the artist’s passing images and meetings.

The exhibition is supplemented with a premiere of Anastasia Miroshnichenko’s Crossroads. The film focuses on the artist’s complex life. “The reason for such a special interest in this artist is his belonging to the subculture of outcast painters. Every Gomel resident knows him,” explains the Deputy General Director of the National Art Museum, Nadezhda Usova.

Valery’s works are kept at the National Art Museum, Gomel’s Palace-and-Park Estate, Zaslavl’s Historical-Cultural Museum-Reserve and in private collections in Belarus Russia, Europe and the USA.

The show will be open to the public until late January. Reproductions of his pictures are on sale, with the generated money aimed at helping the artist.
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