The SMU Russian Club and Russian Studies Program present two weeks of lectures, film screenings, art exhibits, concerts and music master classes during its 20th annual Russian Winter cultural festival Feb. 29-March 13, 2016.
The festival, which will conclude with the traditional celebration of Maslenitsa, also includes a talent show featuring SMU students.
The festival kicks off with the lecture “100 Years of Russian Art, 1917 to Now” by Vladimir Zimakov, director of the Wedeman Gallery and an associate professor of art and design at Lasell College in Boston. As an artist, designer, and illustrator, Zimakov has worked with leading publishing houses such as Penguin, Random House, Farber and Farber, and the Folio Society. He has illustrated books and book covers for the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Alexandre Dumas, Gustav Meyrink, Nikolai Gogol, Herman Melville and A.T.A. Hoffman, among others. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in America, Europe, and Russia.
The event begins with refreshments starting at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 29 in the Huitt-Zollars Conference Room, J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building. The presentation and Q&A begin at 12 p.m.
On Wednesday, March 2, the award-winning journalist and photographer Sergei Loiko, who has written about events in Russia and the former Soviet states for The Los Angeles Times since 1991, will speak on “Putin’s War in Ukraine.” Loiko has covered wars in countries including Afghanistan and Iraq and will talk about why the war in Ukraine is different from others.
Loiko will also present his new documentary novel, Airport, which is about the defense of Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine. The book has already been translated into several languages and has become a bestseller on Amazon. Book signing will begin at 11:30 am with presentation and Q&A beginning at 12 p.m. in the Huitt-Zollars Conference Room, J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building. This event is co-sponsored by the Embrey Human Rights Program.
Diana Cates, a student of intermediate Russian and political science emphasizes the importance of the Festival for the SMU and Dallas community. “Russia is the world’s largest country and still remains one of the most misunderstood. The festival offers a unique and challenging opportunity to enrich a better understanding of Russian culture, art, history, current politics and Russian-American relations through lectures, discussions, art exhibits, and concerts.”
Students of SMU Russian Studies are helping the Dallas-based Russian American Center, the Russian School of Dallas, Art with Perspective, and Dallas and Saratov Sister City, Inc. to organize several community cultural events which are part of the Russian Festival. Students work as coordinators, advisers, volunteers, and interpreters at the International Children’s Festival “Planet of Talents” and at art exhibitions and concerts in the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. They will also participate in the International Women’s Day party, which is very popular in Russia, and is organized by SMU graduate Kostya Chernikov.
At the culmination of the Russian Festival, students participate in the traditional Russian celebration of long winter’s end and the greeting of spring called Maslenitsa. SMU students will serve as volunteers at this event, doing fun activities such as cooking pancakes, dancing, organizing children’s games, helping with the arts and crafts exhibit, and conducting costume and drawing contests.
“Participation in our festival and meeting with native speakers also helps students who are studying Russian to improve their language skills,” says Dasha Flowers, vice president of the SMU Russian Club and a student of advanced Russian. “This festival has rich traditions at SMU. The first festival was presented in 1967 and since 1997 it has become an annual tradition. Each year the Mayor of the City of Dallas signs a proclamation recognizing this festival as an important city cultural event.”
For more information, contact Russian Club president and graduate engineering student Vanessa Qixuan.