Scottish Artists Celebrate Russia’s Modern Bard

22 Aug 2011 in Highland, Music, Visual Arts & Crafts

An exhibition of paintings by Vicky Stonebridge and John Mikietyn, and a ceramic sculpture by Allison Weightman, will open at the Scotland Russia Forum’s Edinburgh premises at 6pm on 12th August, attended by Sergei Krutikov, the Russian Consul General.

The weeklong exhibition accompanies music by Scottish singer, songwriter and translator, Tommy Beavitt, whose long-term project to interpret and perform the work of the Russian Bard, Vladimir Vysotsky (1938-1980), in English and Russian, has been an inspiration for the work displayed. Alongside the artworks, the exhibition will present Tommy’s performances in Russian and English of some of Vysotsky’s songs, which feature universal themes of faith, conflict and individual freedom. After closing in Edinburgh on the 18th, the exhibition will then re-open at the Inchmore Gallery, near Inverness, on the 19th of August.

Tommy, who has already traveled to Russia four times to perform mainly Burns songs (in Russian and Scots-English) said: “I’ve always been fascinated by the power of song, both as a means of expressing a nation’s culture and of transcending the differences between nations. Performing and translating songs from different cultures is also a great way to learn languages. Singing Burns to Russians showed me just how valuable a role the Bard fulfills – it’s more important than ever that nations are able to understand one another. As soon as I heard Vysotsky – whose birthday, 25th of January, is the same as Burns’ – I became obsessed with him. His basic message, at the same time deeply Russian and internationalist,  has a lot in common with Burns’ message of ‘A man’s a man for a that’. I hope that Vysotsky will one day become as well-known (and loved) in Scotland as Burns is in Russia.”

Vicky, who has also had an enduring fascination with Russia, said: “This collaboration has been a fantastic opportunity to develop the work I started when I visited Russia last year. There I was painting Scottish and Celtic myths and stories, and now I have had the opportunity to paint songs by a Russian Bard.
It is normal for me to work with other people when creating comics and Graphic Novels, but it is unusual to work this way with paintings. I am very excited to see how Russians, Scots and other people will react to them. I hope they will convey the spirit of Vysotsky’s songs in a way that can be understood by everyone.”

Source: Vicky Stonebridge