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Kangarusski Art Exhibition

“And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: TRADITION!”

(Fiddler on the Roof)

What does tradition mean to you? To your family?

Is it a religious law written in the Holy book and passed from generation to generation?

Is it a custom developed in your birth town?

Is it a festival celebrated with the whole family or is it a favourite dish that your grandma always cooks?

Children from the Russian speaking Jewish community of Australia were invited to share their traditions through art.

The exhibition was launched by the Zionist Federation of Australia’s Kangarusskiin the partnership with the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Kangarusski is the Russian Speaking Jewish Community (RSJC) department of the Zionist Federation of Australia, whose main goal is engaging and uniting members of the Russian speaking Jewish community around their culture, roots, heritage – connecting them to the Jewish community and to Israel.

The exhibition was on the theme of “My tradition” or in Russian “ТрадициЯ” with the emphasis on the last letter “Я” – Me.

Young talented artists from Sydney and Melbourne, ages ranging 5-14, expressed their feeling of belonging to the community and appreciation of the family values through their paintings and drawings.  

Close to 100 people came to Sydney Jewish museum on Sunday 13 May to support the young artists and to participate in the Prize Giving ceremony.

Special awards and presents were given to the 10 talented artists for outstanding artistic skills and for demonstrating deep and creative understanding of the topic “tradition”.

They were:

5-8 years old

Honourable Mention – Karina Rodov, age 8 (Yelena Art Studio)

Runner up – Eliza Griffith, age 8 (Yelena Art Studio)

1st place – Olga Kotleeva, age 6 (Yelena Art Studio)

9-11 years old

Honourable Mention – Maria Kotleeva, age 11 (Yelena Art Studio)

Runner up – Katerina Lyaschenko, age 10 (Yelena Art Studio)

1st place – Nikalai Sakalouski, age 10 (Iris Art Studio)

12-14 years old

Honourable Mention – Maxim Tokarev, age 14 (Yelena Art Studio)

Runner up – Matthew Tretyakov, age 13. Moriah College

1st place – Leonardo Bardella, age 12 (Yelena Art Studio)

Matthew Tretyakova 13 year –old artist from Moriah College wrote in his description of his “My Shabbat table painting: ‘My mum tells me that when she was growing in Ukraine, the dog was real, but Shabbat table was in her imagination. 
Now, when I’m growing in Australia, the Shabbat table is real, but a dog is in my imagination.
I can draw both worlds and one day they will collide as all is possible in Australia and I will have a dog sitting next to my beautiful Shabbat table.’

Matthew Tretyakov was awarded a special prize for the Showcasing the Jewish culture as part of his family tradition. The award was presented by Olga Kolesnik – a well known artist in the Russian-speaking community.

Dr Ron Weiser AM, ZFA’s Public Affairs Chairman, and his wife Sally Weiser attended the event and expressed their appreciation of it. Dr Ron Weiser AM said “I am delighted that the Zionist Federation can play a role in such an important initiative that reaches out to the Russian speaking community and explores their various connections to their Judaism with a panorama of traditions expressed through some very impressive artworks. It is also very apt that this official opening took place on Yom Yerushalayim, the very centre of Judaism and the Jewish People.”

Aviva Wolf, Operations Manager of the Sydney JewishMuseum said: I am very pleased to see so many children in the Museum today. It is of a great importance to teach the children about their history and heritage and to pass the message of peace to the generations to come.” On behalf of the Sydney Jewish Museum, Aviva awarded a special prize to Isabelle Ho – an 8 year old artist who painted a beautiful Russian Samovar – a traditional High Tea Ceremony container, representing customs which go back centuries.

Jenny Hillman, a Sydney-based art consultant was very impressed with the high level of the young artists’ skills and encouraged them to continue painting and self-expressing.

The event was organised with the help of the Sydney Jewish Museum staff and Kangarusski community volunteers.

The atmosphere in the room was very warm and familiarand the music, played by the amazing violinist Leo Novikov added magic to the event.

Kangarusski Team would like to extend a very special thank you to:

Aviva Wolf, Shannon Biederman and all Sydney Jewish Museum staff involved

Yelena Revisa famous Sydney artist and the founder of the Yelena Art Studio for supporting and sponsoring the exhibition

Irina Iris – the founder of the Iris Art studio, and Olga Kolesnik the founder of the Artozzi Art Company, for the great contribution and involvement in the organising of the event.

Edward Revis, Veda Kucko, Stella Dvuchbabny, Vladimir Shafirov, Rina Kuczko and all other volunteers involved for the hard work and great help with the organising and running the exhibition.

Anna Maylis

Kangarusski Community Coordinator