By Yevgenia Pestelova
The children’s works depict the light and shadows of the famous Botanical Garden in Balchik, its cosy architecture and ancient stones warmed by the sun. No doubt, the schoolchildren from Minsk gymnasium #75 and Soligorsk school #9 have been lucky. Last summer, the best pupils were able to spend 17 days in an atmosphere of rest and creativity, participating in an international open-air forum in Bulgaria.
The children devoted most of their time to creating their pieces, for which their teachers — Tatiana Alyabieva and Irina Filimonova — are full of praise. The young artists managed not only to depict a theme but to capture the tiniest of changes to the light, which alter the appearance of the natural environment. They also depicted the wind, touching leaves and flowers. The best works are currently on show within a display entitled To Love Our Dear Belarus, hosted by the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore at the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Art Studies, Ethnography and Folklore.
“On the first day of the open-air forum, we were searching for themes for a long time; it’s no wonder, since each painter needs to create their own unique pieces. The botanical garden in which we worked has many beautiful corners. However, our work there was specific, with conditions determining our efforts: the bright light and warm climate made it impossible to work with water colours. Gouache was preferable,” explain gymnasium #75 pupils Liana Chekurishvili, Yana Ivanova and Natasha Vasilieva. The girls are each showing two works at the exhibition. They were inspired by more than just nature, however. Yana was attracted by the serene architecture of churches and local Turkish banyas, while Liana and Natasha paid special attention to Balchik’s unique mountains. Their interest can be well explained, since the gymnasium gives much time to studying architecture and art. The girls also attend a club for straw weaving and study computer design, which helps them to think figuratively.
“I had almost no time to draw, as I needed to focus on the children. I only took up a pencil or brush when I saw that a child was missing their home and mother. We then sat and chatted while I drew the child’s portrait. The atmosphere of art accompanied us even in our minutes of rest,” recollects Ms. Alyabieva.