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Artist Evgeny Matyuto about his works and forthcoming Vulica Brasil art festival

Ancestors with gray hair and long beards share knowledge and experience with the new generation. Mighty trees take strong roots and create a cultural base. A bushy green crone whispers about the bright future. These graffiti works can be interpreted as philosophical messages.

Evgeny Matyuto, also known as Cowek, creates a special ethno world of his own with the language of street art. Deep and with national color, his art is recognizable and full of symbols.

Evgeny is a graduate of the Glebov Art College and the Belarusian Academy of Arts. Everything began when he was a child in his hometown Lida, where the boy lived in a new-built area near a forest and loved going for a walk there. He always used to visit his grandparents during school holidays.

Evgeny Matyuto (Cowek), artist:
I am interested in the culture of my homeland, that’s why I got interested in images, myths, stories that I had come across before. I found new things in old ones and wanted to show these things from my perspective.

Works by Cowek are not only in Minsk, Lida, Rogachev, and Mogilev but in other towns and cities of Ukraine, Russia and Poland. His folklore sketches become alternative sights. Effective works cause emotions, make us think and dream. The real world dissolves and passes into the world of dreams on the playground in Belomorskaya Street in Minsk. This work was created together with his friend Marat Tekto in 2012.

Evgeny Matyuto (Cowek), artist:
The main character is a bear flying in some kind of space and creating music from thoughts. He has a helmet and trees growing out of it. It was necessary to use it with good effect and join the two worlds so that a portal like this could be created. If you look at this bear for a long time, then it starts moving about. It’s an optical illusion.

Another work by Matyuto can be seen in Olshevskogo Street. The artist admits that the light wall itself has prompted an image with Belarusian embroidery and a linen shirt. And this is how the "Creator’s hands" work fragment was born. An aged man is blowing soap bubbles from a pipe and sending parting words to people. Each drop has its own sense and element.

Evgeny Matyuto (Cowek), artist:
And one of these soap bubbles is empty. Any passer-by could become part of this composition.

Belarusian street art has come to a new level over the past five years and has taken a considerable step towards development. Belarusian artists are known abroad and foreign graffiti artists visit Belarus with great pleasure. Such international festivals as Vulica Brasil and Urban Myths have given Minsk real masterpieces that made the city even more modern and more original.

Thanks to these sensational projects people found out about the urbanistic culture of Belarus far outside the country, Minsk works are in the top in Europe. After the festival Vulica Brasil, the walls of one factory in Oktyabrskaya Street turned into an incredible gallery under the open sky. Right next to Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh by a Brazilian Rozherio Fernández is the guslyar (a musician playing an old Belarusian traditional instrument called gusli) telling his bylinas (Russian epic ), by Evgeny Matyuto. This elderly man is the symbol of Minsk street art.

Evgeny Matyuto (Cowek), an artist:
In the new 2015 part, there is a round dance, a certain totem, and a granite boulder called “Dzed” (“grandfather” in Belarusian), which was in Minsk near this place and then was brought to the Museum of Boulders. There is a tribute day to this image. People gather around the elderly man, they untwist a whirlwind of new knowledge based on history. Youth returns to old traditions, actively uses images of the Belarusian ornament and embroidery.

People’s consciousness is in need of something real and native in this high-tech age. National themes passed onto failed vinyl records from the big city’s facades. They replaced canvases with artists a long time ago. Evgeny Matyuto discovered this technique in 2007 when he took part in the Phanthom Click festival in Kiev, and then this idea struck him.

Friends and acquaintances bring these vinyl records to the artist. He admits that round shapes are ideal. Evgeny began painting ancient Slavic musical instruments on them not so long ago.

Evgeny Matyuto (Cowek), an artist:
I decided to find out what musical instruments the ancestors of Belarusians used to play, and I came across a lot of materials. There were many simple instruments and practically everyone could learn how to play them without having special skills and knowledge. Zhaleika is one of the Belarusian musical instruments. They were usually made from horns or carved from wood.

Life of street art is usually not that long but artists look at this matter from a philosophical point of view, because it’s street laws.

Belarus has potential but there are not enough legal places were graffiti can be painted. But significant improvement can be seen in Minsk. Street art teaches people to analyze and look at the city in a different way.

Evgeny Matyuto (Cowek), an artist:
Minsk needs some bright colors, mural painting, sculpture, and art. The city needs to be fulfilled with art and then it will be more convenient to live in. From my point of view, the upcoming generation will be interested in this and will develop in the right way.

The Vulica Brasil festival is to change its format and take place as usual (August-September). Art will probably pass onto plane surface. It will change its shape a bit. Minsk is becoming a center of street culture of the European scale. Artists from Spain, Poland and Norway are expected to come to Belarus for the Urban Myths festival in the spring. They are planning to transform Minsk’s high-rise buildings and to give Belarus capital new masterpieces.

Evgeny Matyuto, artist