Symbols of life and hope unite us
National Art Museum hosts White Flowers for Children, dedicated to 30th anniversary of Chernobyl tragedy
White Flowers for Children symbol
The White Flower event (an international interactive charity project) began in Sweden on May 1st, 1908, when public fundraising was first organised to fight such terrible diseases as tuberculosis. The simple daisy — a symbol of spring and new life — was given to everyone who made a donation. It then became known across Europe, with Finland and other states participating. Minsk first hosted the event in 1911, with the fundraising campaign celebrating human generosity, mercy and kindness.
Austrian pupils have raised funds since 1990, their donations being used to construct the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre of Paediatric Oncology, Haematology and Immunology, in Borovlyany, for children suffering from leukemia, following the Chernobyl catastrophe. The Centre opened in 1997.
The Measure of Love exhibition was held at Minsk’s Alternative Theatre on April 27th, 1996, to mark the White Flower holiday. Pupils from the Republican Boarding School for Music and Fine Arts (named after Ivan Akhremchik) donated works, alongside artists. The title of the campaign originated from German ‘Maβliebchen’, which means ‘daisy’.
Artists have been active in the campaign. In 2001, they joined children from the Oncological Centre in creating a monumental painting in the Centre’s lobby, called Tree of Life (Lebensbaum). In 2007, the Saira art group appeared under the initiative of artist Andrey Rodionov, uniting those of varying style and manner: Sergey Grinevich, Sergey Ilyin, Victoria Ilyina and Ivan Ryabtsevich. The event resulted in a decorative and pictorial panel, called The Measure of Love (300x900cm) with 27 canvas stretchers. In 2008, they made Wonderful Orchard (200x750cm), which went on display in Moscow and was then donated to the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre of Paediatric Oncology, Haematology and Immunology in Borovlyany. The panel was prepared especially for the White Flower event.
These works are decorative and monumental, with attention paid towards composition, line and colour, as can be seen by joint works, and in separate compositions by Sergey Grinevich, Andrey Rodionov and Anatoly Skomoroshchenko, as in the sculptures of Alexander Shappo.
To make your donation, funds may be transferred to the Centre’s charity account with Belarusbank: 3642900000362, code 795
By Vladimir Velikhov