Present and past reflected in history of artistic creativity

Modern Belarusian Painting: 21st Century album released, with Modern Pictorial Art Centre and unique Museum District in Minsk still to appear

By Victor Mikhailov

Of course, it takes well over a year to implement such major projects as the establishment of the Modern Pictorial Art Centre or the creation of the Museum District in Minsk. However, such projects have been outlined; the confidence of Pavel Latushko, Belarus’ Culture Minister, inspires us with optimism. Speaking at the Congress of the Belarusian Union of Artists — a landmark cultural event for this most active of creative associations — he noted that artists are among the elite of the state. He believes that they give us a golden treasury while helping us comprehend the nation’s soul.

It’s true that people find their reflection in art, visiting exhibitions to see how artists perceive our world and its innermost secrets. The Second Biennale of Pictorial Art, Graphics and Sculpture, hosted by the Republican Palace of Arts Gallery, offered the full range of contemporary Belarusian creativity. This forum gave us various genres, unexpected shapes and a desire to penetrate deep into the essence of things. Undoubtedly, the level of mastery was diverse, with experienced masters showing their enduring creative energy and younger artists making a name for themselves in their own fresh manner. Moreover, the Congress of the Belarusian Union of Artists encouraged experimentation, eager to avoid stagnation or superficiality.

The release of the Modern Belarusian Painting: 21st Century album proves that our Belarusian artists are united in having multi-faceted talent. The edition allows us to assess various artistic styles and see how the authors imaginatively interpret events of their time. It is the first volume in the Modern Belarusian Art series, released by the Belarusian Encyclopaedia Publishing House, displaying works by a hundred painters who combine experimentation with classical forms.

Like the Biennale itself, the book clearly shows that contemporary Belarusian painters draw on the traditions of the domestic art school with clear national priorities. The album depicts works by famous masters, who have undoubtedly influenced the traditions of the domestic pictorial school, as well as young painters. It contains shots of over 500 canvases, in addition to information on artists’ creative biographies. The edition also presents information on art museums, galleries and exhibition halls countrywide, which regularly host artistic exhibitions.

This is the first album in the Modern Belarusian Art series but the second is already in production, dedicated to sculpture. Albums devoted to decorative-and-applied and graphic art are also planned, with plenty of materials available. Of course, the Modern Pictorial Art Centre and the Museum District will also have much to select from in their displays; our cultural treasury is rich and diverse.

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