art is everywhere
Shirota&Dolgota Studio within the Psychoneurological Asylum 7 is providing the art workshops once a week in the living departments of the asylum. We do not have our own room in the building so we are moving from one department to another. There are approximately 80 inhabitants of the asylum who take part in our sessions.

Natalia Petukhova is coordinating the workshops and involving new volunteers. Among the volunteers are Andrey Rasskazov, Elena Trifonova, Leonid Tsoy, Emil Khafizof, Olga Yemelyantseva, Maria Nikolayeva, Ksenia Shipilyova, Yulia Belkova, Daria Vyborova.


Natalia Petukhova
head of the studio

In my opinion there is no one proper way in art. There is an endless number of forms to express one idea. It is important for me to avoid directive approach. We do not set any tasks for our artists, either educational or therapeutic. The main idea is to reduce the intervention of the assistants to minimum and to trust the artists. The more trust is – the less is directivity.

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As our artists are strongly controlled by the institution they live in, there is more than enough directivity in their life. Me and my colleagues prefer not to impose our points of view but to support the authors initiatives. Sometimes I can share my ideas and observations or give a certain recommendations in a gentle way – which is sometimes necessary to any artist. Then the artist has a choice to follow them or not. Sometimes the artists develop other's ideas in the very own way, which is the most interesting for me.

We prefer it when the artists work out the theme by themselves and try to encourage independency, but as the inhabitants of psycho-neurological asylums have very few opportunities to explore the world they sometimes have a very limited horizons. So this is another task for us to broaden their minds. For this purpose we can sometimes offer a new theme which can arouse the artist's interest and which he will explore in his own way, or we can offer a new artistic material which will lead an artist in a new direction.

It is amazing, when people who never thought to be artists become ones with our support.

The most complicated thing is to make the studio's work stable and regular. Indeed, this is a challenge for the young project without any institutional support. Besides, there are very few institutions which are ready to open their doors to the volunteers of the independent social initiatives.



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