Vladimir Zhbanov’s philosophical ‘Stargazer’

Belarusian cities hardly to be imagined without this sculptor’s works

By Lyudmila Rubanova

Mr. Zhbanov’s works include the well-known ‘Unknown Woman’, ‘Getting a Light’, ‘Girl with Umbrella’ — found in Mikhailovsky Park (near the Railway Station), ‘Lady with Dog’ — near Komarovsky Market, and ‘Carriage’ — near the Town Hall. One of his last pieces — ‘Buyers’ — has been installed near TsUM (central department store). His ‘Golden Trefoil’ fountain has appeared in Molodechno, while his bronze ‘Stargazer’ observes the constellations from Mogilev. As the author said, his ‘Stargazer’ is designed to inspire musings on eternity, the cosmos and our role within the universe…

His light-hearted, ironical and life-like sculptures are so beloved that people often touch them for luck, use them as rendezvous points and like to have their photo taken beside them. To many, his bronze sculptures are so much part of our streets and squares that it seemed new works would continue to grace them for many years to come, arousing delight, surprise and disputes. However, unexpectedly, sculptor Vladimir Zhbanov has died.

It may be symbolic that most of Mr. Zhbanov’s works are to be found in Minsk, as it was his city. He was born there in 1954, to a military family, attending Minsk’s Art College (named after Glebov). He later graduated from the Belarusian State Theatre and Art Institute — also studying at the Academy of Arts of the USSR. He was sent to Afghanistan as an ordinary soldier and then worked as a teacher.

In one interview, Mr. Zhbanov said, “Wherever I look, I see sculptures to either arouse smiles or the desire to touch and admire.” His works are loved by all and, surely, even those who grumbled at the sight of so many of his works in the capital, will come to cherish his legacy. He once said, “Why should I look back? Time and history will show. I’ll be creating as long as I have strength.”

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