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Golden Child monument

In front of the terminal building is The Golden Child monument, sculpted by Ernst Neizvestny and unveiled on May 9, 1995. The monument symbolizes mother earth giving birth to a strong and healthy child.

 

"Golden Child" Author of the design and
sculptor Ernst Neizvetsny
Author of the reliefs - sculptor Mikhail Reva
Architect - Vladimir Glazyrin
9 May 1995
Ernst Neizvestny, symbol of resistance and artistic freedom,
sculptor of "Golden Child"

Ernst Ne-izvest-ny was born in Sverdlovsk, Russia in 1925 (Today Ye·ka·te·rin·burg, a west central Russian city in the eastern foothills of the Ural Mountains).

As a 19-year-old he was a lieutenant in the Russian army in Austria during World War II. He was injured, assumed dead and thrown into the mortuary, where the shock of hitting the ground revived him. His survival escaped the notice of the authorities who 'posthumously' awarded him the Order of the Red Star.

Neizvestny was an artist when the only politically accepted art was socialist realism: happy peasants, broad-chested workers, reverence to grandfather Lenin, and the triumph of the collective over the individual.

His work was always a symbol of resistance and artistic freedom. Neizvestny argument with Nikita Khrushchev, the President of the USSR, over the issue of artistic freedom at the exhibition of the thirtieth anniversary of the Moscow Union of Artists in 1962 has become an historic event

During this exhibition, Khrushchev told him that his work was "dog shit."

Neizvestny retorted that Khrushchev might be Soviet Premier, but he knew nothing about art.

The KGB head, Shelepin, who was part of Khrushchev's entourage, told Neizvestny that he had no right to talk to Khrushchev like that and that he would get a chance to talk in a uranium mine.

But they didn't stop talking. An hour later, Khrushchev finally stopped him by saying: "There are two forces inside you, an angel and a devil. If the angel wins we will help you. If the devil wins, we will destroy you."

Neizvestny was spared, but his Moscow studio and 250 pieces of his art were destroyed.

Neizvestny came under considerable pressure to write to Khrushchev and recant his views. Eventually, he sent a letter, but without the required contrition. As a result he was expelled from the Artists' Union and thus deprived of the legal right to work as an artist in the Soviet Union.

Paradoxically, after Khrushchev's death in 1971, Neizvestny granted Khrushchev's wishes and created a monument for his tomb in Moscow. The interlocking black and white blocks of this monument symbolize Khrushchev's light and dark sides.

A visit to the Dominicans in Poland in 1973, during which he became fascinated with religious art, led to a ban on foreign travel. Neizvestny's sculpture for the facade of the Communist headquarters in Ashkhabad caused a scandal when it was unveiled because it was composed around the shape of a cross.

After 67 attempts to get an exit visa, he was allowed to leave the USSR for the west in 1976. In 1977 he moved to New York City, where he continues to work and live.

His monumental sculptures are also found in Artek, Ashghabad, Egypt, Magadan, Moscow, Sverdlovsk, Sweden, Washington, and Yugoslavia.

Neizvestny's official web page is at www.enstudio.com

Continue your virtul tour by walking to the
Church of Saint Nikolay and Yacht Club
Return to the Odessa Port Overview
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