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MEDITATIONS AT CHILDREN'S EXHIBITION


Few people know that a small exhibition of children from Saint-Petersburg takes place now in Seattle; these children were taught by a saint and very kind man to feel and to think by means of brushes and paints. This is a first spontaneous impression, it is a small sketch of what I would like to make a more detailed account. But you should see it! The first thing I remembered was Nabokov: "we all are caterpillars of angels on the Earth" and then - Churljenis: "I think of the Universe as of great symphony where people are notes". Every person has his own sound, his own inimitable key, tone and colour, and THESE children, children prodigies at first glance, can see so much. Their art works throw off easily and powerfully at the same time venerable contemporary painters. Their teacher let them out as the birds and they are flying, they are flying and make the grown-ups to look upwards, in the sky, not downward on their shoes. They seem to come from fairy-tale orchards which we have never seen. Their children's hands seem to be hold out towards the farthest expanses, transforming the fantastic visions into tangible reality of some completely unheard-of frescos, opening the reality with fairy key of some old epic tales in their great kindness and humanity. They live in their northern city with its restored historic name - Saint-Petersburg, they live with their children's eyes wide opened looking on everything which is Beautiful, and to that extent that you forgot where you are going and where you are from. Frankly speaking, THIS is the talent. Beautiful is beautiful because it can't stand lie! It is hard to tear yourself away from these pictures and suddenly you begin to understand that you are looking at the world with their eyes, with clear eyes of these children. May be it is something about which Mandelshtam wrote sometime:

It's possible the whisper was born before the lips
And leaves were sprailing in the treelessness
And those to whom we dedicate our trials
Acquired their features before we tried.

That's the thing! Children let the whole universe of sounds, colours, countless rhythms reveal itself and doing that choose unerring ways of expression! But how? What's the secret? That is what the inner freedom means!But how? By what means? That is what the inner freedom means! They did comprehended the outer world as well as deep spirituality. And there sounds the music of spheres from their pictures: blue music of the sky, green music of forests, ember music of the sun! And it sounds uniquely, particularly. Wonderful amalgamation of sounds, colours, contours and forms. Dream, reality. They know everything about reminiscences of ancestors and light visions of descendants. Nothing vanishes without a trace. The human memory is eternal, and children succeeded in opening the door of the treasure house of memory. And you begin to understand that God created us all by his image and semblance by his creative, not apparent power, by his inspiration. This exhibition carries the name of "World creation" - and perhaps, several different worlds. And this is one of the first vessels of humankind for sailing towards that horizon where "we won't all die, but everyone will change". We make great mistake when considering children as our continuation, they are aliens. And they are so generous as to bring us to the harmony of Golden Age. The studio is called ECHO and we hear the sources. This is the heavenly horizon of Roerich, this is the precios deposits of Vrubel, and wonderful allegories of Shagal, and primeval colours of Rublev. Altogether complete and independent. However, the words are hopeless to express the whole astounding impression, the only thing to say is that these works are music in the highest possible sense of this gift. They possess not the perfect pitch merely, but the true pitch. New reality is being created by these young demiurges. No words and no love is sufficiently enough. Actually, God "dwells in many places". The works devoted to Mozart's Requiem and to Shostakovich's "Leningrad Symphony" are perfectly staggering. There are some astringent philosophicality and truthfully-mournful condition of tragedy and death in them. They seem to absorb the cemeteries of Petersburg and Vienna which is too much even for the adult person. And out smugness and self-confidence are destroyed! It is joyful and light Day. It is Kitezh found and returned. Unheard-of, unmeasured space and flight. Modigliani noticed once: "Our world is the great kindergarten founded by very cross adults". So - now children deigned to us and trusted the wonder to us! Do we remain deaf to this Call? Did we forgot forever that Childhood is our native land? By their inner vision they can see such things which are subjected to only such adults as Andersen. They are the part of nature. They can see the picture in the whole by their inner glance, just like Mozart composed his music. It should be kept and guarded. These children call to follow after themselves, they suggest the desire to obey them, they give us wings, simply and generously, without hesitating - no, not give, but bestow. Because "god lives in loving, not in beloved" and the happiness to give is greater than to receive. Visit this exhibition of children's pictures, it will let you feel joy.

Tatiana KARGINA,
Seattle, USA

Published in the newspaper "America is our home", January, 1997

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