Auction Offers Artist Designs for Beslan Center

For MTThe Young Engineer's Station has taught children arts and crafts for more than 40 years in Beslan, North Ossetia.
Specially commissioned work by local artists will be auctioned off Thursday to raise money for repairs to a youth center in Beslan, the North Ossetian town that suffered deeply in the hostage siege four years ago.

The auction, called "Beslan. The Art of Renaissance," will take place in Moscow at the Diehl + Gallery One on Oct. 9 and will also feature arts and crafts made by children from the North Ossetian town.

Well-known artists such as Dmitry Vrubel and Viktoria Timofeyeva, famous for their picture "The Mortal Kiss," a gargantuan portrait of Leonid Brezhnev and Eric Honnecker painted on the Berlin Wall in 1989, were given a simple wooden taburetka, or stool, and told to decorate it any way they wanted.

For MT
Vrubel and Timofeyeva's stool

The stools produced vary dramatically, from Vrubel and Timofeyeva's one featuring the big-cheeked face of Mayor Yury Luzhkov to one decorated with a sleeping cat being watched by rats.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's face decorates another stool.

More than 300 people, most of them children, were killed in the Beslan hostage siege in September 2004 after federal forces launched a chaotic rescue effort. Many hundreds more were left injured and traumatized by the tragedy.

"We have all forgotten about the tragedy," said Natalya Stepanyuk of IQ marketing agency, which is organizing the auction. "But the children continue to live with the nightmare before their eyes."

The auction aims to raise money to renovate a children's arts and crafts center in the town.

The center, called the Young Engineer's Station, is one of the few places in the town where children have a creative outlet, said Stepanyuk.

For MT
Konstantin Komardin's design

The center offers more than 70 different activities, such as woodworking, pottery, embroidery and making national costumes. More than a thousand children come to the center even though the building is in disrepair and lacks heating and basic equipment.

"We don't just want to raise money but to develop the creative life in Beslan. The British Higher School of Art and Design has joined up with us and is ready to lead special courses at the station. We are planning international exhibitions on the Internet and in the galleries of Moscow and Beslan," said auction organizer Daniil Filin.

In 2004, the agency brought in artists who worked with children to paint local buildings in bright, vivid colors.

In addition to the stools, the auction will also offer different pieces created by Beslan children at the center, such as dolls dressed in national costumes, pottery, bead pictures and statuettes.

The auction takes place Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Diehl + Gallery One, located at 5/13 Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya. M. Smolenskaya. Tickets cost 1,800 rubles. 500-5577.