On the morrow of memory — to distant and close past
Minsk’s Palace of Arts hosts personal exhibition by Honoured Figure of Arts of Belarus Vladimir Urodnich, entitled I Will Wake up Today Before the Dawn… dedicated to his 70th birthday
By Vasily Tikhomirov
Of course, a 70th birthday is always worth celebrating. Vladimir Urodnich was born in May 1942, in the village of Bolshie Orly, in the Brest Region. The war was in full force, with Belarus occupied by the fascists. This tragic and heroic period in the life of the nation couldn’t but find reflection in the creativity of the artist, whose military themed works are now on show at the Belarusian Museum of Great Patriotic War History.
In fact, his works are also found at the National Art Museum of Belarus, at the Belarusian Union of Artists and at the Modern Fine Arts Museum, as well as at the literary museums of Maxim Bogdanovich and Yanka Kupala, at the Yakub Kolas Literary and Memorial Museum, at the Belarusian Museum of Folk Architecture and Life, at the Museum of Belarusian Polesie in Pinsk, at Mogilev’s Regional Art Museum (named after Pavel Maslennikov) and at Vitebsk’s Regional Local History Museum.
Audiences will immediately understand that his canvases explore the significant traces left by his home region: the Stolin District in the Brest Region, which nestles cosily between the rivers Garyn and Pripyat. Undoubtedly, he was much inspired by Belarus’ resistance to fascism.
Annually, Belarus celebrates the anniversary of its liberation from the brown plague of Nazism, on warm July days. The holiday reminds us of the echo of an artillery salute honouring the Great Victory, as well as of the great loss and eternal pain in our hearts. The painter admits that he has always heard the voice of his father, who died in 1943; it follows him like the echo of a memory. He views it as his duty to stare deep into such memories which, unfortunately, tend to fade with passing time. However, he believes that future generations will have the chance to more reasonably assess the spiritual worth of those young defenders of today’s independence; as canonical images, they should remain in everyone’s hearts.
Artist Vladimir Urodnich is confident that a new melody of modern life should embrace us, filled with those who remain forever on an unnumbered hill where crops now grow.
Once, visiting his painter’s studio, I felt the connection which links Mr. Urodnich with his characters. Creating a picture on the military theme, he was dissatisfied with his image of an intelligent-looking officer up early in the morning and kept repainting the fragment, wishing to more vividly show the feelings of the major character, bringing human essence to the image. The picture now hangs at the exhibition and is certainly convincing, with a strong feeling of spirituality surrounding the character.
The current jubilee exhibition by Vladimir Urodnich features over 20 figurative compositions and a range of portraits, as well as still-life paintings and landscapes from various regions of Belarus. He has paid special attention to his native Polesie, which remains his main inspiration, being his source of love for his Fatherland.
As a teacher at the Belarusian Academy of Arts’ Pictorial Chair, an Honoured Figure of Arts of Belarus, laureate of the Special Presidential Award in the ‘Pictorial Art’ nomination, the Chairman of the Tradition Section at the Belarusian Union of Artists, and a member of the Defence Ministry’s Studio of Military Artists, Vladimir Urodnich is keen to share his impressions of life. He wishes to share his experience with tomorrow’s citizens: a mission he sees as no less important than his own creative activity.