July 5: An aususpicious start for our new year

We gathered this morning in the somber rooms of the contemporary arts Center of Kiev Mogilya University. The gate to the street was locked, at 10 o’clock they were precisely 3 of us at the door. But as we took our places in those echoing chambers, people continued to drift in, until eventually we had all of our scheduled speakers and evaluators.

Incoming President Tatyana Knyazeva served as Toastmaster. She started by showing the three paintings, one of which she wants to donate to the art auction tomorrow at Pyragova. There were two Southeast Asian scenes and one apparently Japanese. The consensus she received at the end of the meeting was that the larger of the two Southeast Asian paintings, labeled Mekong, would be most appropriate.

Oleg Demchik addressed a serious problem, the addictive nature of computers, and our increasing tendency to interact via electronic media rather than face-to-face. He cited an acquaintance of his who documented his efforts to run his dating life via the Internet in a mathematical formula. Though he may meet 1000 women over the Internet, there is dramatic attenuation in the translation from acquaintance to dates, and from dates to relationships. The bottom line is he has no relationships. Oleg sees this as a problem at all our relationships. He has started a couple of clubs in Kiev for people to discuss means of handling client-salesperson, boss-employee, and male-female relationships.

Valentina Karabayeva gave a speech on the limitations of money. There are many things that it will buy, but the most important things in life are beyond its power. She had an impressive list. It will buy medicine but not health. It will buy entertainment but not amusement. It will buy sex but not love. The amount of money people have seems to be largely unrelated to their happiness. A person may be 10 times richer at 60 than at 20, but is anybody 10 times happier?

Our newest member, Julia, led a very unusual table topic session. She brought photos of three famous paintings. The speaker’s challenge was to describe those paintings and words as accurately as possible to create a mental image for the listeners, and then to show the paintings to the listeners could evaluate how accurate the description had been. It wasn’t a contest, only an intriguing challenge. Graham got what Julia described as one of the world’s earliest impressionist paintings, what looked like a 16th century Spanish or Italian grandee whose features and fine garments were all composed of flowers and fruits. It was painted as a human representation of the four seasons. Maria Kapustyan drew Pablo Picasso’s famous painting Guarnica, and she was properly repulsed by the depiction of carnage in the bombing during the Spanish Civil War. Lastly, Yuri Karabach drew a dream painting by Salvatore Dali, with a voluptuous nude, wild tigers and an improbable elephant on stilts. It was a great opportunity, and all the speakers rose to the occasion quite well. It was also quite in keeping with our roots as an ArtTalkers club.

All and all, it was an aususpicious start for our new year. Good attendance, good speakers, and lively conversation both before and after the meeting. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 12:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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