Rare Russian paintings are to go on display in St Annes during the town’s Arts and Music Festival starting this weekend.
The Soviet Realism artworks are from the collection of cafe-bar proprietor Elena Radzivilova, who hails originally from Russia and previously worked in a Moscow art gallery.
After later living in Amsterdam, Elena, a keen artist herself, moved to England to join daughter Polly and the pair now run the Silantro cafe-bar in Wood Street, where the Soviet paintings will go on display during the week-long festival beginning on Saturday.
“While working in Moscow, I travelled all over the country meeting artists and gathering works for the gallery,” explained Elena, “I became especially interested in the Realism works and started building a collection of my own.
“When I moved to Amsterdam I retained my home in Moscow and the art remained there but now I have come over to England, I have brought the collection over and am very proud of it. I hope people enjoy seeing the art.”
Soviet realism came to the fore during the Communist regime in the former USSR and its influence spread to other countries in Eastern Europe. A hallmark of the works, which date from the 1930s to the ’90s, is that they often glorify the roles of the meek and working class and the struggle for its emancipation.
Richard Marshall, an art expert who organised last month’s Lytham Arts Festival and is acting as an art consultant for the St Annes event, is thrilled the Soviet works are to get an airing locally. “It is an amazing collection and this is a rare an exciting opportunity to view examples of Soviet Realism which is not often found outside London,” he said.
Elena took over Silantro earlier this year and has been delighted at the response from locals to the traditional Russian fare on offer. “Everyone has been so friendly – St Annes is a lovely place,” she said.
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