Francisco Infante-Arana

Francisco Infante-Arana

Some people think that during Soviet era there were no alternative art in Russia, but only portraits of Lenin were popular and only scenes of everyday Soviet life were depicted. To tell truth I was a bit shocked when met those installations by Russian (yes, he is Russian, no matter what was his name – he had Spanish father but was raised by Russian mother in Russia) artist Francisco Infante-Arana.

He used no photoshop, mainly because most of the images you see in this post are from 1970-1980s, he used only natural objects like mirrors, ropes and cords and endulged a lot into the effect of light and shadow.

He became widely recognized even by Soviet officials and hold personal exhibitions, as well as his art pieces were shown in main Russian museums like Tretyakovka.

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The Sword of Victory

Tallest Russian monuments 9

These days there were huge celebrations for the Victory Day – the annual date when they mark the victory of Russia in World War 2. In Russia people got really amused when someone tells them that World War 2 was won by allies. Every Russia, from schoolboy to oldest granddad know that the World War 2 victory is Russian.

So right after the war ended the decided to commemorate the victory in art too. They wanted to erect something as big as never was done before. So the idea came to someone to build not one but a chain of monuments and place them in different locations to shock the imagination of people with the scale of this creation.

And so it has been done. Three huge tall monuments were build in three locations – from Ural mountains in the central Russia to Berlin, Germany. All three monuments were connected by one item. It was a huge metal sword of victory.

Let’s go inside to see all three in detail.

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Russian Sand Sculptures

Russian Sand Sculptures

These days there was a sand sculptures contest in Moscow. Some of the most cool looking ones you can find in this post.

The organizers didn’t realize that Moscow is not the best place to held such an event because of unstable spring climate. Usually those contests are being conducted in the regions where the rains are not so often, but in this place and this time of the years rains just can go daily, so it’s big pity they didn’t last long.

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Russian Birch Tree Juice

Russian birch tree juice

Birch tree juice drinking and harvesting is an old tradition in Russia. The main season for this fun is spring. Tens thousands of birch trees across the country become the source for this delightful liquid, harvested mainly by kids.

Usually there are two methods of doing this. One is to make a hole in the tree body itself then put some kind of straw or pipe in the hole connected with some bottle. Usually the big wine bottle gets full of the birch tree juice from one tree overnight. Another way is to brake a branch and just insert the branch into the bottle, then tie or tape the bottle to the branch.

Russian expatriates abroad are often ask local groceries for bottled juice and very surprised when can’t get it.

Sometimes, when the spring nights are freezing, one can see his harvest place turned into this state as on those photos. Then he gets a frozen birch juice.

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The Story of the Blind Artist

Russian blind artist

The paintings you see in this post might seem not be worth publishing from the first site. The thing can make us look more closely at them is the story of the artist who brought them to life. What makes them special is that this person is… blind. I don’t know if he is unique or there are some more people around the world who are totally blind but here his story.
He was not blind from the birth. He lost his sight during a digging operation in the forests of Ukraine, where they tried to find remains of Russian soldiers who are considered to be missing since the World War 2. He got blew up on the 50 year old German Nazi land mine and since then he couldn’t see with the both of his eyes.

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One of the Dmitri’s works.

Before this accident he had already some recognition among the local artist community and his works didn’t look like those later ones. You can see one of his works when he still was able to see as the last photo of this post. Then when he lost sight he lost everything. He became a disabled person whom nobody needed or cared about. He was in deep depression, and once he has got a call from his old friend, who tried to support the artist and offered to conduct an public exhibition of his old works. Of course he agreed. Then they had some time before the exhibition and Dmitri – that is the name of our hero – decided to try to draw something again to present at the ongoing exhibition, to show the world that he is still an artist, even with a missing sight. He called it “Even the longest way starts with a tiny step.”
At first he couldn’t draw anything that reminded the sane painting. But after hours of practice and persistance he managed to give a birth to his first painting of his new life. Now there are 250 new works, created after the accident in which he lost his sight, and some of them are highly recognized by critics and were bought for private collections of Russian and foreighn art lovers.

Russian blind artist 20

Dmitri, the blind artist.

“When I see the works of Dmitri, I became ashamed of ourselves, how often do we complain, how often we say that life is not fair with us, and still we can see the world around us. But Dmitri can’t, and still he doesn’t complain, he works. Every his painting is a piece of the world he knew, he knows and he would know. We, proffesionals from art, don’t care that he can’t see – he still remains a proffesional artist for us. Of course, his style has been changed, but still he is a good colorist and stylist and we don’t make any discounts on his wound, when saying this.”, says Valentina Myzgina, the chief manager of Kharkov Art Museum.

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