Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Photo/photo manipulation: Anna Strzalkowska
Wings, make-up/styling: Marzanna Antoniak
Model: Monika Karczmarczyk

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sharmanka - Glasgow's kinetic wonderland

This article by Marzanna has been published in Migrant Voice,
issue 1/2012, p. 22. 
Below is the original version, before edition.
Proofreading by Arthur McNeaney - Thank you!
Photo by Anna Strzałkowska & Marzanna Antoniak


Sharmanka - Glasgow's kinetic wonderland
You step through the door of the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre and you enter the surreal and haunted world of the most magical of Glasgow’s hidden treasures.

In the heart of the city, at Trongate 103, Russian-Jewish self-taught kinetic sculptor Eduard Bersudsky has cleverly established a union of mechanics and art where, through multitudes of material and media, he tells us the complex tragicomic stories of the human spirit.

With time the gallery has become more and more a multimedia creation, initiating unified creativity and the engagement of other artists. The collaboration with the Derevo Dance Theatre and other performers as well as monthly music performances at the gallery hosted by John Cavanagh are an attempt to unify the visual and auditory art of the old sewing and writing machines, bicycle wheels and other pieces of industrial machinery with the mechanical and artistic ingenuity of the human being.
Every first Thursday of the month various bands play music inspired by Bersudsky’s sculptures, the concerts becoming the teamwork of musicians and machines. Tatyana Jakovskaya, the sculptor’s wife and artistic partner, sets them in motion and they clatter and screak, whirling round and round to the rhythm of the musicians while synchronized colorful lights make shadows that dance to the music on the surrounding walls.

Orient Express
What brought Sharmanka (Russian for “hurdy-gurdy” or street organ) to Scotland? The answer can be found in Bersudsky’s works, works that disclose many biographical traces. One of them, 'The Last Eagle of the Highlands', recalls the plight of these majestic birds who, as commercial spruce trees were being too densely planted, could not hunt because of their huge wing-spans. Many left their homeland. “So too did many people of different nationalities when they could not find enough space to spread their wings.”

In soviet Russia, where was no support for art, Eduard Bersudsky felt he couldn’t spread his wings either. High rents, overwhelming racism and a culture of bribery influenced the couple’s decision to leave Saint Petersburg. They were invited to exhibit here in Glasgow by the director of the McLellan Galleries and decided to stay. Beginnings were tough though, and the family got separated because of problems with visas. Tatyana Jakovskaya was only on a short working permit so couldn’t bring her son Sergey, who now designs the lighting and sound for the sculptures in the exhibition.
A breakthrough came at the beginning of July 1993 when a friend, furniture-maker Tim Stead, helped them settle in Blainslie in the Scottish Borders, where they quickly made friends. “As soon as people realized that Eduard was a hands-on and hardworking man, they started treating him as one of their own,” Jakovskaya says. “It’s easier to understand each other when you work together. In rural Scotland people know history, they know about all those Scots who left the country and it is maybe easier for them to sympathize with migrants.”

The Flying Bull
There are loads of reminiscences of Russian mythology and culture in Bersudsky’s works but he increasingly draws from local myths and history. Tatyana Jakovskaya backs this up by speaking enthusiastically about St Mungo – Glasgow’s patron saint and one of the artist’s inspirations: “I’ve read a 12th century description of St Mungo’s life. He was a passionate wanderer. He travelled only on foot, going as far as St. Petersburg, near Ladoga.”
It turns out that there are certain similarities between Celts and Slavs, between Eastern and Western European cultures,. “The Baltic sea was connecting, not dividing.”
Jakovskaya has noticed these common roots extending beyond mythology to other areas. The theatre director refers to the family’s first visit to the Glasgow School of Art where they were surprised to see how similar Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s architecture to Art Nouveau buildings in their native St. Petersburg was. “It was so close to establishing a European cultural union.”
All these ideas are still very much alive at Sharmanka. East and West talk peaceably through Bersudsky's many enigmatic kinemats, works of genius that frequently appear across Great Britain, Europe and even as far as Israel and New York.
Go to Sharmanka for a truly metaphysical experience!

More at Sharmanka’s homepage:

Monday, 13 February 2012

Polish Folk Music Workshop / Warsztaty polskiej muzyki ludowej

W niedzielę, 12 lutego odbyły się w Glasgow poprowadzone przez Mirosława Pukacza WARSZTATY POLSKIEJ MUZYKI LUDOWEJ. Uczestnicy mieli szansę nie tylko dowiedzieć się wielu ciekawostek z życia ludu i dziejów jego muzyki, ale również zapoznać się z nagraniami „ostatnich wiejskich muzykantów”.
On Sunday, February the 12, was held in Glasgow POLISH FOLK MUSIC WORKSHOP led by Miroslaw Pukacz. Participants had the opportunity to not only learn many interesting facts from the life of the villagers and history of their music, but also watch and listen to the recordings of the "last rural musicians".
W ostatnich kilku latach ukazało się wiele cennych wydawnictw, jak na przykład cykl „Muzyka odnaleziona” Andrzeja Bieńkowskiego.
In the last few years there were many valuable publications, such as a series of "Music Found" Andrzej Bieńkowski.

Zapraszamy do obejrzenia rekonstrukcji autentycznej muzyki ludowej z Południowego Mazowsza prezentowanych przez Janusz Prusinowski Trio.
Here Janusz Prusinowski Trio presents reconstructions of authentic folk music from South Mazovia:

Nie zabrakło również śpiewów. “Stworzuno je koza” podbiła serca uczestników warsztatów swoją prostotą, humorem i filozofią.
We were also singing. 'Stworzuno je koza' won the hearts of the workshop participants by its’ simplicity, humor and philosophy:

Stworzuno je koza

Stworzuno je koza zeby gruski trzusła.
Koza nie chce grusków trzusac
Gruszki nie chcu spodac

Stworzuny jest pies zeby kozo kusoł
A pies nie chce kozy kusać
koza nie chce grusków trzusać
Gruski nie spodaju

A po to je kij zeby piesa waliuł
A kij nie chce piesa walić
A pies nie chce kozy kusać
koza nie chce grusków trzusać
Gruski nie spodaju

Stworzuny jest łogień zeby kija spoliuł
Łogień nie chce kija polić
A kij nie chce piesa walić
A pies nie chce kozy kusać
koza nie chce grusków trzusać
Gruski nie spodaju

Stworzuno jest woda zeby łogień zaloć
Woda nie chce łognia zaloć
Łogień nie chce kija polić
A kij nie chce piesa walić
A pies nie chce kozy kusać
koza nie chce grusków trzusać
Gruski nie spodaju

Stworzuny je wół żeby woda wypiuł
Wypić woda wół musioł
Woda musiała łogień zaloć
Łogień musioł kija polić
A kij musioł piesa walić
A pies musioł koza kusać
Koza musi grusków trząsać
Gruski pospadały

A jo zadro se fartusek i musa iść zbirać grusek!

Na koniec zaśpiewaliśmy, zagraliśmy i zabębniliśmy, na czym kto mógł, autorskiego oberka.

At the end we sang and played a real Polish oberek.

Dziękujemy wszystkim za udział! A Mirka prosimy o więcej!
Thank you all for your participation! Mirek, more please!