March 17, 2024 | 2:00pm - 4:00 pm
The Wende Museum

Russian History Through Visual Stories with Anne Bobroff-Hajal

Artist Anne Bobroff-Hajal’s monumental artwork contains over a thousand color-drenched, 3-inch high portraits of Russians from serfs to princes, from Soviet nomenclatura to gulag inmates, whose stories are narrated in song by satirical characters based on Russian autocrats. Bobroff-Hajal used a magnifying glass and tiny brushes to paint each diminutive Russian/Soviet citizen as a unique individual at a moment of extreme interaction with other people key to their lives. Attendees will each choose two painted people who appeal to them. The group will then come together for a lively conversation with the artist about how each of “their” people relates to many others in the painting, arriving at greater understanding of Tsarist and Soviet autocratic hierarchies – and of Putin and his oligarchs today. We will reflect on why Russia’s profoundly-rooted autocratic society has survived for over 500 years to today, irrespective of ideological and dynastic changes.

Anne Bobroff-Hajal is an artist with a PhD in Russian history.  She lived in St Petersburg (then Leningrad) and Moscow, USSR, for a year doing archival research for what became her book, Working Women in Russia Under the Hunger Tsars. Her art has been widely exhibited, most recently in solo shows at the Museum of Russian Icons (“Playground of the Autocrats”) and Columbia University’s Harriman Institute for Russian Studies gallery (“Peasants, Clans, and Effervescent Absolutists!”), and “Echos of Empire: A dual exhibition by Anne Bobroff-Hajal and Craig Campbell,” in Austin, TX.

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