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Return to Gomel

Photographs of Belarus by Alexander Artway on display at the Palace of the Rumyantsevs and the Paskeviches in Gomel, Belarus

Alexander Artway: Return to Gomel is the result of two years of painstaking work, which opens a new name in the history of photography not only for Gomel residents, but also for all Belarusians. Yan Bulgak, Isaak Serbov, Nikolai Mogilyansky, Jozef Shimanchuk, Sofya Khomentovskaya ... Now you can add Alexander Artvei to this list of photographers of the first half of the 20th century who shot Belarusian lands! The exhibition for the first time presents photographs of the Artemiev family from the late 19th - early 20th centuries; life of Gomel residents of the 1920s; cities and people of the second half of the 1930s. The uniqueness of the images is given by the fact that many objects of those years are unfamiliar to us today. How often can you see photographs where a Catholic church, a fire tower and a monument to the leader of the world proletariat are harmoniously standing on Lenin Square? None of these objects have survived to this day, as well as the Transfiguration Church and the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Did you know what the streets of Minsk and Kladbischenskaya looked like, which have not been on the city plans for more than 70 years? All this can be seen at our exhibition!"  Written by Curator of the exhibition, research fellow Yu.V. Pankov


Thank you to all of Yuri Pankov's work and for the museum for hosting Alexander Artway's photography and researching about his life and legacy.  Below are photos included in the exhibit and photos from the opening reception. Unfortunately we could not attend the opening because of covid travel restrictions but the museum took photos of all the attendees interacting with the photos.

Here are some responses from guests to the exhibition:

"I am very grateful for your father's archival photographs. The shots are unique and beautiful. Many thanks. Long live Belarus!"

"Thanks! It was very interesting to see the streets of the city, the faces of people almost a century ago."

"Unusual: time come to life, very distant, in black and white photos - they emit light, color, warmth. The recognizable buildings that have survived to this day are of particular joy. It is sad, of course, that many things have not survived, that something was destroyed during the war, something was simply demolished, broken in the 1960s. All the more valuable are photographs that slightly open the curtain of time and "breathe" intrigue. Thanks!" "Super Photos!!! Many thanks to you for letting us know your city. Our city was destroyed throughout the 20th century, and a photo from your ancestor's archive is a real revelation for everyone who is not indifferent to the history of Gomel." - Andrey Ananiev

God Bless America.

"Thanks to Jeanette for being able to transfer these beautiful photos to Gomel. Students of the Faculty of History are grateful to you for the fact that we were able to contemplate what was far from us."

- Historians of Gomel State University.

"Dear Jeanette, thank you for sharing your father's story and his work. These photos are not only beautiful, but incredibly important to the story. I wish you all the very best."

"Thanks for the photos of old Gomel, which have been saved. It's so great, at least we can see those unique buildings that were talked about earlier, but "on fingers."

"The photographs are as unique as the fate of the author Alexander Artemiev is. The publication of these photos with comments suggests itself. Special thanks to the organizers of the exhibition, to everyone who made efforts to make it take place. We are waiting for the publication of these photos (booklet, album, postcards)."

- Grishchenko Irina.

"Thank you very much for the photo of pre-war Gomel and for the opportunity to see a piece of something long lost, but so beautiful. We hope and look forward to the best changes."

With respect and love, your Belarusians.


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