Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ernst Neizvestny and the mask of sorrow

The Mask of Sorrow is a monument perched on a hill above Magadan Russia, commemorating the millions of prisoners who suffered and died in the Gulag prison camps in the Kloyma region of the during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. It consists of a large stone statue of a face, with tears coming from the left eye in the form of small masks. The right eye is in the form of a barred window. The back side portrays a weeping young woman and a headless man on a cross. Inside is a replication of a typical Stalin-era prison cell.

The statue opened on June 12 1996 with the help of the Russian government and financial contributions from seven Russian cities, including Magadan. The design was created by famed sculptor Ernst Neizvestny (Ironically, his surname (often taken for a pseudonym) translates to "unknown" or "not famous" in English.). His parents fell victim to the Stalinist purges of the 1930s; the monument was constructed by Kamil Kazaev. The mask stands 15 meters high and takes up 56 cubic meters of space.

Neizvestny remains to be prolific, and currently resides in N.Y. City.

1 comment:

Leonid said...

Kloyma region should read KOLYMA region ( Kolyma is the river name).