"…I have always admired Russian dignity, pride, its greatness and its relics in my art. I do not wish for it to cease to exist."
Russian artist Valery Nicolaevich Balabanov is popular not only in his homeland but also abroad. His paintings are widely exhibited in galleries and museums in Russia, Europe and America. Valery Balabanov is an acclaimed member of the Reader’s Union as well as a member of the State’s Academy of Slavic Studies. Balabanov is also considered a well-respected member of the International Academy of Spiritual Unity. He is also the author of the Highest Military Order of Russia as well as of Zhukov’s medal. Valery Nicolaevich possesses an order of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“Creative work in my understanding is a type of social confession. I paint philosophical parables for people to ponder. I try to invite a viewer to another dimension, to ask him to be my co-author. For me, a painting is not merely a canvas covered with paint. I envision it as a spiritual bridge that connects an artist’s heart with a spectator’s soul,” claims Valery Nicolaevich.
“Orthodox Faith to me,” he adds “constitutes the highest point of spiritual growth. The closer I get to it, the better my vision of harmony in my paintings. It is this faith that keeps me afloat and helps me live through tough times. This faith helps me to perceive myself as an integral component of eternal Russia! ...The best Russian masterpieces have been created with tremendous souls’ torments and pure love towards our motherland. These are creative confessions. One can never perceive the essence of such works, until the person goes the same spiritual healing process as the artist. Russian art is compassionate at its core.”
It so happened that the tragedy of atomic submarine “Kursk” which happened on August 12, 2002 coincided with Arhiereisky council in the Church of the Resurrection of Jesus. The Church has proclaimed Russian Emperor Nicolas II a saint. His family along with fifty seven other martyrs has been titled saints.
As for my sinful soul, I was praying for those poor 118 sailors who tragically died on the sub. Later I completed a painting depicting such tragic event. It was titled “A Prayer for Russian Sailors.” My heart was weeping while I worked on a painting “A Prayer for a Russian soldier.” The painting was dedicated to mutual love and dignity of Russia’s sons who have not betrayed their faith in Russia and in Church.
Basically, all of these paintings are in fact prayers. “The Star Of Bethlehem,” “A Prayer for Russian Sailors” and “A Prayer for a Russian Sailor” all comprise a triptych entitled “Requiem.”
All catastrophes, disasters, global crises, all result from man’s soul. All disasters happen as a result of humans’ atheism. A man’s soul is God’s breath.
This is precisely the reason why I paint paintings-prayers. The triptych is a vivid representation of confession of the entire humanity.
A note from Balabanov’s diary
One kind man planted a seed right next to my shop. A wonderful poplar grew out of it. An evil man stuck a spear in soil. Their life paths later crossed. Spears began piercing blossoming green trees. Those trees later formed a Cross. I have been witnessing all of this in the course of thirteen years. Every spring however, one can once again to observe trees in full bloom. With every gust of wind, leaves start to move, trunks bend making a squeaky sound…a sound of tree rubbing against metal.
When I was little, my mother used to call me Lel…Lel is Slavic God of Love.
With Love to you all!