I've mentioned Poroshin several times before. (For example, here.) He's done a lot to help Judy and me get better acquainted with the history, traditions, vocabulary, and concerns of Russian art. His own art is, by turns whimsical, prophetic, historical, allegorical, decorative, and mischievous--sometimes several qualities at once. As several speechmakers and toast-givers pointed out this evening, he's also a hard-working professional. He's prolific, not because he turns things out on an a conveyer belt--his "Armageddon" took four years to finish--but because he puts in a full day's work every day. His work shows his love of Russia, but also his unwillingness to conceal her faults.
Poroshin's jubilee exhibition opened this evening with speeches, music, and a wonderful reception. While we were there, we also saw an ongoing exhibition by Moscow artist Igor Khamraev. The overall theme of the paintings Khamraev selected for this show is "Light--Energy of the Soul." Several of the painting--united by references to the epic "Tale of Igor's Campaign"--shimmered with the soul-energy of ancient Russia. In the diagonally opposite corner of the room from "Igor's Campaign" was the fascinating composion, "Tsiolkovsky and Gagarin," the prophetic Russian space scientist and first astronaut, with a tiny window (wormhole?) with a little scene reminding me of Tarkovsky's original Solaris movie. I was assured by Khamraev that, Tarkovsky being his favorite director, my observation wasn't entirely out of order.
Some glimpses of the evening, with Poroshin's exhibition and party first, then some samples from the halls devoted to Khamraev's paintings:
The Pew Forum reports on a survey, "Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa."
Roger Cohen, "The Glory of Poland." One of my favorite lines: "The thing about competitive victimhood, a favorite Middle Eastern pastime, is that it condemns the children of today to join the long list of the dead."
A thoughtful set of posts on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stevens' retirement, and its implications.
An interview with Tariq Ramadan.
Scot McKnight on "The Jesus We'll Never Know": "There is ... no value-or theology-free method that will enable us to get back to Jesus." On the other hand: Tom Wright defends the ongoing search for the historical Jesus.
"Walk cheerfully" with Quaker maps.
Latest news in the story of Dorothy Stang, whom I first mentioned five years ago.
Fresh from Delta Moon: