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Minsk sculptor Ales Shaternik: His life, works and inspiration

Sculptor Ales Shaternik is Minsker in the fifth generation who did a lot for his beloved city. Some of his works are situated in the heart of Minsk.

Today, during a walk, first memories of the city keep coming back – it was in 1945. He remembers the war, his mother in tears seeing his father off to the front.

Ales Shaternik, sculptor:
The farewell was so dramatic. When my father was leaving, the road was uphill and the further he was, the smaller he was. But God told my mother that my father would be back safe and sound.

In a few decades, this touching farewell will become the key theme of a sculptural composition Separation. Today, it can be seen in front of Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum.

Ales Shaternik, sculptor:
Our family had a small icon. My mother sewed the icon in his overcoat pocket, near the heart. And this story was the basis of the composition, because the gesture of my mother's blessing is very significant and important. You can sculpt a hand and say a lot with it.

The location of the sculpture is also symbolic for Ales Shaternik: his family lived nearby.

Ales Shaternik, sculptor:
We moved to Gvardeyskaya Street in 1951. It was a beautiful place – the houses were cute, there were a lot of flowers, music was playing: Rakhmaninov, Tchaikovsky.

While on a stroll there today, Ales Shaternik plunges into the pleasant memories. As a kid, he used to swim in Komsomolskoye Lake and draw landscapes.

Ales Shaternik, sculptor:
I used to go to the lake and draw there.

There is almost nothing left of Gvardeyskaya Street – just a couple of houses.

Ales Shaternik, sculptor:
Here we can see where houses No10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 used to be – I used to live in house No2. Our house was torn down, but I had a dream that they were rebuilt.

Ales Shaternik himself did a lot for the picture of his favourite capital. He and his colleagues created four sculptural compositions of favourite national holidays and seasons – Kalyady, Spring Meeting, Kupalle and Dazhynki.

Ales Shaternik, sculptor:
I decided to pick the national motive.

Spring Meeting is not the only folklore sculptural composition by Ales Shaternik, there is also Krivichy in Malinovka neighborhood – as a reminder of our roots.

Ales Shaternik, sculptor:
It is two meters high; my workshop was quite small – we could not manage to get the sculpture out, so we opened the window and made a board for the ship.

A lot of his works are in the Belarusian National Arts Museum. And he is not going to stop; his plan is to keep creating.

Minsk sculptor Ales Shaternik – his life, works and inspiration