The 1st All-Russian Plein Air Painting Symposium resulted in the opening of an exhibition in the gallery of the Suuksu Palace. Exhibits include paintings, drawings, and ceramic panels and sculptures made by both child artists and mature masters. The subject was children and childhood.
The exhibition features nearly 100 works ranging from Artek’s sunlit landscapes to colourful still lifes and unusual portraits next to sculptures depicting mischievous blackbirds, a Cheshire cat, White Rabbit and Alice.
“I am so glad to see that the first event at the restored Suuksu Palace is an exhibition. The most important people at Artek are children, not adults. In fact, adults feel inferior to kids who are better, purer, kinder than they are. Childhood is natural,” Artek Director Alexei Kasprzhak said at the opening of the exhibition. “I would like to see more children depicted on paintings and in other media at Artek because we become better people when children are around. Our main goal is to use art to boost the self-confidence of the kids.”
According to Kasprzhak, the plein air painting sessions may become an annual feature at the center and acquire an international status.
Chief artist at the International Children’s Center Konstantin Fyodorov shared his view on what makes the Artek exhibition different: “We usually see displays featuring adult artists separately from their younger colleagues. Here, however, we’ve got a creative blend where young artists’ creations that show their vivaciousness and unpredictability, fantasy and inimitable view of the world, compliment works by adult professionals. So instead of this whole thing having a rocky start, we’ve had a joy ride!”
«I think this Angel painting is unusual in that its lower part where we see the twilight city is done in an outwardly simple, even rough, manner, while the figure of the floating angel feels devoid of weight,” Maria Strelchenya, who came to Artek from the Ukrainian city of Lugansk, says pointing at one of her favourite pictures. “I also like ceramic depictions of Alice and the Cheshire Cat from the Lewis Carroll book, which I have just finished.”
“As for me, I was fascinated by the painting with monkeys and its curious exotic theme. I thought that children are cheerful and dynamic just like monkeys,” says Alyona Troitskaya from the Ukrainian town of Alchevsk. “I think it’s a symbol of a joyful and dynamic childhood, and everything associated with it and Artek. I also very much liked two marine landscapes that make you feel like the sea rising and falling, the movement of waves, the salty taste of splashes.”
The works will be included into the Artek Center’s collection to become part of its history and even a matter of pride. “I didn’t know that modern art is so diverse, that there are ceramic panels and sculptures, not just oil paintings” says Margarita Pokrovskaya from the Russian city of Surgut. “We’ve seen today a lot of spectacular works and I was even more surprised to find out that they were made by children. Maybe some of them will become famous artists one day, who will then recall that they’ve created their first portrait or landscape at Artek.”
The two weeks from late March to April 8 saw meetings with professional artists, artistic classes and workshops that helped Artek children learn the basics of portrait, landscape, still life painting, book illustration, easel graphics, billboard and poster making, and hone the skills of working with ceramics. Practice and theory classes were coupled with plein air trips to Bakhchysarai, Chersonesus, and the Vorontsov Palace park.
The Artek International Children’s Center held the plein air painting symposium in partnership with the Russian Union of Artists.