D14 – Sept – Novo’s underground

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Today, a marathon was taking place in Novosibirsk, and so was our day, as we bounced from one place to another with no stop. Yesterday evening and today have been amazing, thanks to Sergeï, who is a friend of Micha, who is a friend of Oleg, who is an acquaintance of my parents.

This is Sergeï, yesterday evening, in front of one of the many Novo’s theaters.
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In this very theater, yesterday was the season’s opening. Musicians where playing for free to give a glimpse of the concerts to come, entire city was there, and old ladies were selling tickets.

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Sergeï is responsible for organizing the temporary exhibitions of the Fine Arts Museum.
This morning, as we had to print train tickets, he brought us to his office, full of frames, paintings, papers…

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And then we had a look a the current exhibition, from an artist who uses boiled wool to picture typical Russian’s scenes.

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For instance, the little girl on the left is preparing pelmenis, which are Russian dumplings.
And the little boy on the sofa is watchin a TV program back in the 1970’s, when there was only channel, ready to eat pelmenis as well.

Then, Sergeï took us to the workshop of an artist, a painter.
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He started his career doing illustrations in books, it could be a kid’s books or Homer’s Odyssey.

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He explained the complexity of working in USSR at the time. You couldn’t find any oil paints in the shops anymore, unless you were a member of the Party league of Artists. But, if you were a member of the Party, you were told what you had to paint. For instance, he did show us a painting influenced by the Surrealists, but this was completely in opposition to the Soviet’ line : Realism. He finally decided freedom. Out of the Party. Out of supplies.

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Life started to be better after the Perestroïka, that he mentioned several times, and seems to  savor every moment of his freedom. He said, as a conclusion to our discussion, that meeting two women, who were traveling on their own, from France, visiting him in his workshop, would have been impossible to even imagine, back in USSR.

He was born in Birobidjan. What is Birobidjan ? Well, an other interesting story I will try to tell tomorrow, before entering a train for a 30-hours trip to Irkutsk.

The day ended nicely with Sergeï, who brought us to the top of a hill on the other side of the city to have a look on Novo.

Next to the view point was also a very photogenic abandoned Luna Park…

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One thought on “D14 – Sept – Novo’s underground

  1. I like this reportage the most next to the pictures of Siberia from the train. And your pictures are top class ! I wonder how many citizens live in Novosibirsk or Tobolsk. Would be nice to know. And please make a reportage on Russian food! I am sure you had quite and experience ! And pieliemeni from wool are just an entree ?! Ciao – thanks to sharing the stories, pictures and videos which add the reality so much to what you write.

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