Once upon a time... Belarusian fairy tales are neither full of endless magical expanses nor are they carefree. They do not illustrate belligerence and cunning, but instead portray gentleness, modesty, simplicity and finite nature. Centuries of experience of powerful neighbours, war, foreign rule and death left Belarus with little scope for open religious diversity and a specific Belarusian history. However, Belarusian art depicts a flight from what is temporary and dreary. It may reflect reverence, subservience, patience and gentleness, but it also reveals incredible passion and wildness, exuberant rebelliousness and fantastic reveries.
Belarusian art discloses the inner conflict of the White Russian soul, a pendulum constantly oscillating between love and hate, between intense religiosity and superstition, between dark forces, miracles and magical powers, in combination with cold pragmatism, between unlimited hope and endless passion. It reveals fragility, tenderness and pleasure in suffering, but also romantic longing, heartfelt passion and exotic charm, and at the same time it combines the monotony of the actual region with the elementary power of Belarusian soil. Exhibiting both intellectual sophistication and frank curiosity, Belarusian art combines oriental influences with Russian Orthodox tradition and the floating sounds of the pentatonic scale with the spiritual effect of its liturgical choirs, creating a mystical atmosphere extending to trance-like conditions of religious ecstasy in the freedom of fusion with the universe.
Our masters tell the story of working in the dark with a never-to-be-forgotten belief in the light. Their works bear timeless witness to Belarusian self-discovery, reflexivity, and self-realisation in soft tones – stories that are told with senses intoxicated with colour.
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