By Dmitry Neversky
Art-Zhyzhal first took place in 2003, initiated by Valery Koltygin — a ceramist well known in the city. He was later awarded the ‘For Spiritual Revival’ prize.
“Of course, we were taking a risk, as the venture could have failed,” recollects Valery. However, the concerns were unnecessary. Even the first workshop gathered a dozen ceramists from five countries. Initially, masters from neighbouring Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland primarily attended but, in the course of time, they were joined by colleagues from further afield: Germany, the UK, Bulgaria, Moldova and Venezuela. This year, the open air workshop gathered ten states, with Turkey and Kazakhstan coming for the first time.
The Georgy Poplavsky Art Museum hosted a traditional exhibition of works created during the forum. “Our workshop is unique in Belarusian fine arts, gathering over 200 participants to date,” noted Bobruisk Mayor Dmitry Bonokhov, in his opening speech. “Its geography is ever expanding, with ceramists bringing their national culture to us. With this in mind, we’ve always supported Art-Zhyzhal, despite any difficulties.”
“It’s my first time at Art-Zhyzhal but I feel as if I’ve been coming for a long time,” smiles Kemal Tizgol, from Turkey’s Antalya. “We’ve gained closer acquaintance and I’m so impressed with what I’ve seen and heard. I’ll take all my impressions home. I’m thankful to the organisers of this ceramic festival and hope to meet everyone again next year.”
Art-Zhyzhal participants were awarded with diplomas and souvenirs, alongside praise for their expressive creativity. After the workshop, the articles created under the Ceramics in Architectural Space theme went on show: Old World (by Asya Vakhmistrova, of St. Petersburg), Time for Life (by Magdalena Zborowska, of Poland), Two in a Boat (by Sandra Naumova, of Bulgaria) and other pieces. Famous Bobruisk ceramist Anatoly Kontsub showcased several of his works — all attractive in their preciseness and artistry. Seemingly ordinary objects were imbued with deep philosophical meaning.
The Circle of Fire exhibition is currently in Bobruisk, but shall soon tour Mogilev, Vitebsk and other Belarusian cities. Hundreds of art lovers will be able to enjoy the unique show.