Autumn Colors of Siberia

A series of plein airs in the Krasnoyarsk Territory held in September 2016 became the first art expedition to Siberia in the history of Viacheslav Zarenkov's project "Creative World".

Five artists from five countries - the UK, Russia, Latvia, Finland and Singapore - made their sketches on rivers Biryusa, Bazaikha, Stony Tunguska, Yenisei, by the Krasnoyarsk Sea, in Krasnoyarsk, in the nature reserve "Stolby".

Thomas Charles Artyuton, Natalia Beketova, Sabina Caceresa, Reetta-Sofia Manunumaa and Matthias Chuo Renny captured autumn colors of Siberia on their canvases. All of them are students and graduates of the Saint Petersburg State Repin Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

The Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Students of the Institute Konstantin Beketov headed the expedition.

Krasnoyarsk region is the center of the artistic life of the Russian Trans-Urals.

The famous painter, a master of large-scale paintings Vasily Surikov was born in 1848 in Krasnoyarsk in the family of Cossacks.

After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg and having lived most of his life in Moscow, the artist never lost his ties with his native city, and honored his roots. When introducing himself to someone else, he always said, "My name is Surikov, I am a Siberian Cossack", and only after he added: "an artist".

Surikov stated: "In Siberia, people are different from the rest of Russia; they are free by heart and brave". Siberia becomes the starting point for many of his works; it is enough to recall the most famous paintings "The Capture of Snow Town" and "The Conquest of Siberia by Yermak".

The names of many famous people are connected with Krasnoyarsk.

In 1807, Count N.P. Rezanov, who was returning from California with the intention to come back two years later to his fiancee in San Francisco, died in this city.

In 1897, Lenin lived in Krasnoyarsk a few months, waiting for his assignment to the exile in Shushenskoye.

During the Great Patriotic War, Professor V. F. Vojno-Yasenetsky (Archbishop Luke) lived and worked in Krasnoyarsk. At the beginning of the war, serving an exile in Tomsk, he filed a petition in the Supreme Council of the USSR Presidium to stop his exile and send him to the hospital, expressing willingness to return to the exile at the end of the war. From October 1941, the great physician was appointed as a consultant of all hospitals of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the chief surgeon of evacuation hospital. At the same time he held unique surgeries every day.

Russian writer Viktor Astafyev was born and lived near Krasnoyarsk, in the village of Ovsyanka. The house-museum "The Last Respect", named after the author’s novel title, is here now.

V.P. Astafyev Literature Museum is organized in Krasnoyarsk in a wooden building built in the late nineteenth century in the style of Siberian Art.

The main symbols of Krasnoyarsk − Paraskeva Chapel, Communal Bridge over the Yenisei and Krasnoyarsk HPP − are known to all residents of the country. They are depicted on a ten rubles banknote of Russia.

The artists, who just returned from their trip, shared their impressions during a press conference at the House of Journalists in Krasnoyarsk.

Reetta-Sofia Maunumaa from Finland said: “It's a real life here in Siberia; it makes you feel happy. We tried to bring something into it with our creativity. In Baikit I made a portrait of aunt Tanya from Evenk Village Poligus. She was laughing and joking a lot, it was a pleasure to draw. We got a lot from people who live here. It will remain with us forever”.

Thomas Charles Artyuton, an artist from the UK, was struck by the expanse of Siberia: "I admired the bright, saturated colors and a broad expanse of these areas - isolated, beautiful, and poetic. I met friends there. It will remain in my heart and will be reflected in my paintings".

Sabina Caceresa (Latvia): "The ability to communicate with nature and with the people is important to an artist. During the trip we were drawing together with children in one of the villages. The children were gathering around us, because they were interested in what we were doing. It is very important for us".

Matthias Chuo Renny from Singapore emphasized the extremeness of this expedition: during the trip the artists had to live in tents, warm up by the fire, and even hunt in the forest for game.

In these places, one often has to fully experience the power of nature.

St. Petersburg artist Natalia Beketova said that a week before the scheduled sailing on a boat on the Stony Tunguska river the water fell sharply and long-awaited trip was under the threat of failure. But fortunately the day before the scheduled start the water rose, and rafting did take place. Even in the most remote villages in Siberia, people are very friendly.

In Kuzmovka, the village of Old Believers, the locals showed the artists their national costumes so that they can fully feel the atmosphere and peculiarities of their life.

All artists have noted that this expedition will be reflected in their future work and experience gained during the plein air at Krasnoyarsk Region, will be the basis for serious paintings.

The first spectators could see the best sketches created as a result of the international art expedition to Siberia at the exhibition at the Museum of an artist Boris Ryauzov in Krasnoyarsk from the 19th to 30th of September 2016.