Jury of VI International Art Contest "In My Homeland"

The jury board of the VIth International Art Contest “In My Homeland” worked on 5-8 February 2011 in the Educational Centre of Green Cross Belarus. The members of the jury board are professional artists, teachers and art critics from Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine. Here are their interviews.

LEONID GOMONOV, Chairman of the Jury (Minsk, Belarus)
Member of the Belarusian Union of Artists, International Academy of Arts and Culture corresponding member

The question of whether we should offer the topics for contest works was raised not once during discussions about the “In My Homeland” Contest with arts schools and studios representatives. The name of the Contest and its idea are clear without any further explanation. But to create the artist does not need frames that are imposed on him or her. Paintings with a clearly expressed idea and a talented artistic execution always get their deserved attention both from the jury and from the viewers. When you look at the work and see that it is all around harmonic (it has coloring, plastics of the depicted objects, composition is observed) you do not think about its name or the topic that it was following. You see the beauty that touches your feelings and excites, and you seize to just enjoying it. Art, just as well as music, is a universal language, using which the artist creates images and conveys thoughts, emotions and ideas. And the topic in this case loses its relevance.

EGOR BATALYONOK (Minsk, Belarus)
Member of the Belarusian Union of Artists

Artistry is one of the major factors in upbringing a full-fledged personality. It can not be compensated by other types of activities. Therefore aspiration towards artistry should be supported and developed in each child irrespective of the extent of the talent. Any person should be seen as a creator. And the artistic act should be viewed as inspirational and purely personal. Therefore interfering is undesirable. The result for the teacher should become an object of a serious analysis and reasoning as it reflects the inner world of the young artist and his aspirations become evident. And the task of the teacher is to stimulate everything positive and constructive and if necessary help in reducing the aggression and in general to orient toward other topics and subjects.

Formation of an artistic personality is impossible without the ability to harmonize own feelings and thoughts, consciously directing them toward a creative path. Responsibility of an artist lies foremost within adhesion to talent and pureness of thoughts. Anyone who assists in forming a creative personality should remember this. At the same time the teacher should assess modern art tendencies, which at times ignore the traditions and general artistic experience.

Our time gave rise to a new type of artist, the one who transfers from the subjective depiction of reality to the establishment of a subjective world of ideas. Subjective is being overly exaggerated, egocentrism prevails over the unity of personal and general. The metropolis world gives rise to the art the essence of which is secondary and preconditioned by the man-created environment. This circle of self-restriction influences the artist. Moreover, the narrow specialisation without a firm spiritual base (which is a characteristic trait of our time) contributes to the human degradation.

Magic of art! It can be white and black. The way towards real beauty is hard but is rewarded with true joy. The way towards false beauty is easy. But what is its price?

Children’s drawings, presented in this album, are original in form and deep in meaning. With a great diversity of individualities they are united by sincere, imaginative perception of the native land.

OLEG VASILYEV (Veliky Novgorod, Russia)
Member of the Russian Union of Artists, Headmaster of the Novgorod Children’s Art School

Contest “In My Homeland” provides a unique opportunity to analyze the current state of children’s visual art sphere. And in this lies the great merit of its organizers, who managed to attract many art schools and studios from different countries t participation.

The quality of works sent to the Contest states for its high status. Participating is honorable, winning is prestigious. It is not often when you face a situation of hard choice in selecting from an abundance the best children’s art works. In this Contest from an enormous amount of wonderful works were chosen masterpieces.

YURIY GRIGORYEV (Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia)
Member of the Russian Union of Artists, Senior Methodologist of the Republican Methodological Center for Education of the Ministry of Culture and National Policy of Bashkortostan, Honored Art Worker of Bashkortostan, Teacher at the Ufa Children’s Art School #1

I really like the approach of the jury to the works of the International Contest “In My Homeland”. At other Contests everything goes from the mind – academicism, ornamentality and other parameters are being assessed. Here the judging goes from the heart. Sometimes it even might seem that the jury do not know themselves why they give a high evaluation to a child’s work. They just feel that there is life in it and some force, which is able to influence the viewer. And this is really great and I think that this is the greatest achievement of the Contest.

SERGEY GRICHANOK (Kharkov, the Ukraine)
Teacher-methodologist of the highest category, Deputy Head of the Kharkov Lyceum of Arts #133

The Contest pleased me with the way the work of the jury was organised. 14 people were its members and at first it seemed that it would be really hard to agree on things as everyone has personal tastes and favors, already formed views on art in general and children art in particular. However, the atmosphere was friendly and the work harmonious. And I am very happy for those children whose works passed this strict selection.

I noticed that many training works come to the Contest and I admit that this does not appeal to me very much. Training works show the level of education but do not reveal the artistic personality of the author. Art school teaches to observe proportions, to correctly place everything on the canvas, but these are not
the main elements of the contest work.

Creative basis is composition in its broad sense. However, very often it is not given proper attention as the main aim of education is preparation for further professional training. The main pillar of art education is harmonious development of the child’s personality. And he or she might not become an artist in the future, but will choose to become a doctor, a chef or a philosopher, but any kind of profession might become
an art.

I really hope that the Contest will find even more partners who share this view on children art, on modern time and aesthetic education problems. Let the oasis of love towards nature and a man as part of nature grow transforming the spiritual desert into HOMELAND, unique for every person!

NINA GROM (Moscow, Russia)
Member of the Russian Creative Union of Arts, “Hudozhestvennaja Shkola” Magazine Editor-in-Chief

The jury work took place on the level of high emotions, intuition, the unconscious. We literally relived every art work trying to understand what motivates the child, what motivates the teacher.

With each year the contest grows and this fact is definite: I see the enormous growth in organization, in the level of works sent. With Contest catalogues I have been working for two years already – leaf them through, recollect, look into their informative part. They give me a perception of the culture of the teachers who work in children’s art schools, of their understanding how to teach, whether it is necessary to save traditions or leave them for a new trend in art. For me this is an opportunity to follow the development of art processes in different countries, including Russia. The albums are an original screen in which I look during the whole year.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about a single or two, sometimes more children’s works that I saw among the Contest entries and then in the catalogue. I might not remember the surname of the author, but I distinctly remember the drawing and its plot… and I smile and it warms my soul in the snowy and cold Moscow.

Thank you, my dear friends, organizers of the International Contest “In My Homeland” for the work you have been developing for some years, for the invaluable experience and for the opportunity to have a glimpse of the world through the eyes of a child.

Head of the Methodological Department of the Omsk Regional Public Cultural Institution of the Ministry of Culture “State Center of Folklore”

Working in the jury of the Contest “In My Homeland” each time is an important phase of my professional activities. Firstly, it is an opportunity to see almost all spectrum of the world’s children art, which is really interesting in itself. Secondly, this is an assessment of your region’s work, which is always exciting. I do not see the works which were sent by our schools to the Contest, but find out the results from the protocol. And I am genuinely happy when I see degree diploma winners and exhibition participants.

For several years in a row the works from the pupils of Omsk art schools have been highly assessed. I have thought a lot about the reasons of such success but the last International Conference for Artists-Teachers gave me another thought. We are really far from Europe and its overflowing new trend of upbringing a free artist. By really carefully adopting everything new we unwillingly become the guardians of the traditional school, preserve and develop what has almost disappeared in the West. And Contest results are another confirmation to the fact the art has not lost its merit.

LEONID NESTEROV (Moscow, Russia)
Academician, Vice-President of the International Academy of Culture and Arts, Head of the  Leisure, Developing and Information Technologies Centre for Children and Youth “Raduga”

International Art and Graphics Contest “In My Homeland” is a wonderful example of international cooperation. At the present time the question of methodological experience exchange on different levels (local and international) is especially topical. And Contest organizers provide it through final exhibitions, wonderful catalogues and the International Artists-Teachers Conference, which is being held in frames of the Contest.

Nowadays when many countries encounter worldview and spiritual crisis, consumer primitivism and raging “pseudo-art” international and intercultural connections aiming at preserving and developing cultural traditions obtain a new meaning and importance.

Children’s moral health is the health of any nation. And what we manage to put in the young generation now will echo in the nearest future. Society’s loss of spiritual and other socially important benchmarks leads to chaos in the heads of children and blurring of such fundamental notions as good and evil. The role of the teacher, tutor and mentor in the upbringing is as never before great and this Contest fully contributes to it.

I would like to wish the Contest further development and support. I wish that as many children involved in arts, art schools from different countries and interested state and public organisations as possible would participate in it!

OKSANA PILIPYUK (Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia)
Director on Arts and Sciences of the Visual Art and Drawing School "Hudozhka"

Usually one sends the works to international contests as if into nowhere and never know what happens with your entries there. Then you receive catalogues which one looks through with interest but that always arise many questions to which the answers can be found only when one gets into the very heart of events and sees everything personally.

In the contest of such extent I participate for the first time. There is a huge amount of works and countries. On some of the works we could not even read the words but we communicated without
the language, we saw the thoughts of each child, his or her approach to the surrounding world.

Work in the jury provides an opportunity to look through all the works arriving at the Contest. For me this is a huge experience. And I can say that the wide geography helps in understanding what is happening in art education in different countries and regions. Moreover, I think that you can not only observe but as well influence the situation.

In our school we pay great attention to painting in watercolors. And I used to wonder at the little amount of such drawings in catalogues. Now I see that it is simply not sent to contest as this tradition seems to get lost and fade away. I wish the teachers would pay attention to this fact and there would be more watercolor works in the future.

Any child in his or her nature is a creator. And he has it much more naturally than any of the adults. Most important is that the child opens the wish to draw, to depict the world on paper and transforms this wish into action. Children art helps in preserving the world. Without exaggeration our duty is to help the child in finding the delicate strings of beauty and help him change the world at least in the detail.

ALEXANDER SOROCHKIN (Votkinsk, Udmurtia, Russia)
Honorary Worker of Russian General Education, Honored Worker of Culture of Udmurtia, Head of the Art Department of the Votkinsk Children’s Art School

Exhibition-Contest of Art and Graphics “In My Homeland” that is held in Belarus became a festival of visual art schools from many countries. Organizers attend to qualitative development and improvement of the project. The evidence is the growing with each year interest towards the Contest.

Votkinsk Children’s Art School has been participating in the festival of young artists for several years. In my opinion the name of the Contest is well apt. It draws the attention of the young artist to the surrounding world by studying which he learns love and careful attitude to all that is surrounding him or her.

I was in the jury of many children contest of different levels, but this one remained in my memory for a very respectful attitude of the jury members to the young artists’ works. The catalogue can not leave anyone indifferent either. In my opinion it deserves the highest appreciation.

I wish that the interest to holding this wonderful Contest would last as long as possible and we would gladly send in our works and actively participate in it!

Member of the Russian Union of Artists, Headmaster of the Omsk Children’s Art School #1

We, residents of the Omsk region, are often being asked about the reason for success of the Omsk art schools in this Contest. I suppose to a great extend this happens due to the close cooperation of our teachers. The schools share their pedagogical experience, methodologies of work with children in different subjects. Nobody keeps their pedagogical discoveries a secret as everyone became convinced before that it is impossible to copy each other. But to receive something for oneself is possible. And we feel as a united team.

The “In My Homeland” Contest in my opinion provides such an opportunity. By using the catalogue we learn from the colleagues from other regions and countries. At the International Conference for Artists-Teachers we discuss relevant problems of the art education and share useful information. Professional cooperation of this kind opens wide opportunities.

Teacher of the Secondary School #1188 with Intensive Study of Fine Arts

This year I clearly understood: here, at this Contest, the jury gathers not only to choose the winners. By looking through the great amount of works from different countries we can perceive the tendencies in modern visual arts. The jury paid attention to the fact that among the submitted children’s works there was really little works in watercolor. Why does this technique disappear from art schools? Many of such question need reflection, not only pedagogical, but general cultural as well. This is a reason to draw
the attention of teachers, methodologists, art historians to the questions, which arose here at the Contest, and therefore influence the situation.

YURIY HILKO (Minsk, Belarus)
Member of the Belarusian Union of Artists, Associate Professor, Head of the Graphics Department of the Belarusian State Academy of Arts

The last Contest was impressive with the amount of submitted works and the number of participating countries. The jury had a hard task of looking through more than 12 thousand drawings. It is physically hard and choosing the best out of this amount is an intense and important task.

Giving an assessment to a child’s drawing is much harder than to a work of a professional artist. For an adult the motor activity when creating the drawing is just a means of achieving the goal, but in the child’s drawing it is a part of the image and this should be considered as well.

One can not pass over the indigenous interaction of such categories as creative work and artistic skill. Since when shall you teach the child professional aspects of drawing – picture, painting, composition? As it is known that you can be a wonderful graphic artist, painter but at the same time never become an artist. The essence is in the gift of God, the talent which was generously given to a person. And in developing this talent the role of the teacher becomes the main, especially on the first stage of artistic education.

Helping the young artist in his or her development is an extremely hard task. Wisdom of the teacher and professional feeling that in front of you is a future master are the only helpers in this work. The rest depends on the person and his or her capacity for work.

LEONID ESLINGER (Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk oblast, Russia)
Honored Culture Worker of the Russian Federation, Headmaster of the Magnitogorsk Children’s Art School

The Contest is a festive occasion of young artists and their teachers. It is as well an exam the results of which they expect with such awe! Recognition of their work at such mighty contests as the International Contest “In My Homeland” gives the children and their teachers a strong stimulus for further creativity. Therefore I spoke a lot about this Contest in my school, at the meetings with representatives of the Magnitogorsk region art schools and at the Chelyabinsk art college. This experience is really valuable for us in organizing contests and creative work.

The Contest is wonderful and the people who created it are remarkable. I am overwhelmed to touch this big and good work!