( my Boudicca painting underneath one of Anna Silvonchik’s gorgeous works )
so to continue the Russian adventure;
FRiday 20th afternoon- the Art exhibition opening
Another wonderful lunch, we never realised we were hungry until meal times, and never felt full or bloated, just replenished. So with underware wet from the shower at the forest spring we changed into our posh frocks for the official exhibition opening, the exhibition hall buzzing with important guests, TV cameras, last minute activity and nervous artists. Many more photos of each other with each others work, so many fantasic works, the smell of oil paint hardening. A sudden heavy rain shower “ you are not afraid of the rain?! “ asked Olga “ nyet, ye Shotlander ! “
( greeted in traditional costume, with sweet Chuk chuk- artist Bulat on the right ” William Wallace!” – one day I’ll explain why Scots are embarrassed by the film )
First there were Speeches,then Shinod performed the dance that goes with his art work- without vodka! Good man!
More speeches from the Minister of Culture for Tartarstan, the exhibitionm the theme ‘Breath of the Epic’ then we were asked to stand up as foreign visitors and say a few words with Olgas assistance. I said something about how ‘back at home in the Scottish mountains the culture and stories from the past seem to be mysterious shadows hidden in the stones, here I had found a culture alive and thriving living in the people everyday, etc etc thanks very much wonderful time, hope to return, the visit had given me new life’, the others said their heartfelt words of Thanks and how much they loved Yelabuga too.
then we were very touched to be presented with traditional Tartar hats, beautiful framed hand made paper certificates/awards, and the Elabuga soft toy emblem of a woodpecker.
then Champagne. the traditional tartar Chuk chuk which is traditional representing hospitality and is presented to guests at the door- photos, awards given to artists selected for best quality of art and interpretation of the theme, I was pleased that one went to Dyulustan, of the Yakutsk state and head of the Arctic institute painting department. As I loved his work it was among my favourites along with Anna Silvonchik’s stunning colourful pieces.
No sooner was this all done then we were whisked along the road to walk to the big newly built hotel, which is not something locals could ever afford to stay at but if it brings business and tourism to Yelabuga it will benefit all. It looks like Hotels across the world, whereas I am glad the one we stayed at had more of the local character and warmth. Here there was a large conference/ discussion group with again more tv cameras. more on that later.
This exhibition and our artworks now belong to the Elabuga State preservation area, and will hopefully be shown internationally. There will also be a substantial book/catalogue produced.
( more photo calls with artists Anatoli and Bulat )