Thursday, August 15, 2013

Anatoly Belik, exhibition in Birmingham

The festival of Quilts in Birmingham brought a couple of surprises, one of them Anatoly Belik, Russian artist working with textiles. I knew his work before and love it but looking at his quite small pieces surrounded by thousands and thousands of European and American quilts was quite a special experience. He was so different so authentic and  so original that hundreds of people coming to express admiration told that he made their day.

All of them, quilters, artists, amateurs and professionals noticed the intricate, skillful design that supports his touching but pretty simple ideas. Most of the pieces he selected for the exhibition were devoted to women, because in his view women are the beginning of everything, they create life and secure its continuity. Whenever I had time I tried to come to his exhibition  to help him with interpreting and saw people coming again and again. The artist's style that was unmistakably Russian sometimes initiated  discussions, retrospective associations and long lectures on the history of Russian Art of the beginning of the 20th century, suprematism in particular. Two English ladys were so impressed with his work that asked me spell the names of some Russian artists Anatoly considers his teachers.  They were determined to make internet research to fill gaps in their art education.

He is a passionate teacher, his pupils are children from very early age to teenagers . Every year they get dozens of diplomas at various creative competitions, he can speak hours about them. His class:

I am a dummy, I don't know anything about modern technology, explains Anatoly. This is me embarrassed and absorbed in self-pity. And those are antique Russian kettles (in Russian dummy=kettle)

As I have already said lots of his pieces are devoted to women.

One of my favourites

Anatoly in front of this work