14 May 2024

Artist explores the damage of ego on ecology, and uncovers a passion for caring for our planet

| Sally Hopman
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Man in front of painting

Artist Anatoly Golobokov at the opening night of his latest exhibition, Eco v Ego, at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture in Canberra. Photo: Supplied.

From his early days in Russia to his experiences today in Canberra, Anatoly Golobokov believes that art is all about life’s stories.

Stories that affect him and the people around him. His latest exhibition, Eco v Ego, at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, tells the most important of stories.

The exhibition consists of multi-layered mixed- and digital media installations, where the audience can see the “complex dynamics between our never-ending modern consumption and the serious impact it has on the well-being of our planet”.

“Each piece in this exhibition represents my belief in the power of art to provoke thought and inspire change. I created these installations and three-dimensional collages to demonstrate the ongoing clash between our individual egotistical desires and the ecological responsibility we all owe to our one and only home,” the artist said through his daughter and interpreter, Katya Golobokova.

“It was important to tell a story of consumerism and the irreversible consequences it has on our planet, as well as focus on not just talking about the message itself, but be that message.”

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Katya said that for her father’s exhibitions, brochures were usually printed to provide context for the audience. However, for this exhibition and its theme, they decided not to create more disposable waste. Instead, they display large posters with the installations to help people understand the exhibition as they walked through it.

“On these posters, we had quotes, interesting facts about what is happening to our environment, as well as a little background information.”

Katya said the idea for this exhibition had been with her father for some time, adding that it began with the title, Eco v Ego, followed by the installation.

“He develops digital sketches, gets them printed, and then utilises various media and materials to deliver a particular message for each installation. It can be various materials that normally would be discarded, that he repurposes, or old phones and tablets.”

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She said the exhibition’s theme was the ongoing battle between our desires and their impact on our environment.

“As Anatoly started executing his idea and exploring and understanding what is happening in the world and why, he realised that our consumerist culture as a society was a common denominator and cause for it all.”

Originally from Russia, Anatoly moved to Australia 13 years ago so all his family could be together. Today, they all live in Canberra.

Large floaty artwork

Medusa Oniomania (‘Shopaholism’) by Anatoly Golobokov is on display in the artist’s Eco v Ego exhibition at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture in Canberra. Photo: Supplied.

As a master of the Florentine mosaic technique, he draws much of his inspiration from his surroundings, particularly Canberra’s unique colour and landscape. He is keen to grow awareness of the art form, including teaching it at the Canberra Lapidary Club.

“He is always inspired by the Australian culture and how supportive the community is here. And that’s what keeps driving him to keep creating more. He has deep respect for the Indigenous culture and their deep connection to land, sea and community, which partly inspired his work of Eco v Ego.

“He believes we, as a society, have drifted so far from our natural ways and connection to our environment, and rather than living harmoniously with the land, we continue to trash it. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from the Indigenous ways of life and connection to land.”

The artist’s dream is to open a school in Canberra and help to share his craft with others.

Eco v Ego is on at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra, until 18 May. Open from 10:30 am to 3 pm.

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if we want o challenge the ego, why not ask questions about how the ego driven consumerist society only got stronger when it took us to the point of adopting progressive ideology (on steroids) and the belief that we create our own reality?

And if we want to challenge the abuse of the environment, why not start pointing the finger at the technocrats who first promoted the endless, poorly made and unnecessary innovations, and now tell us we have to adopt socialism to make amends – while they continue to live as they want?

Real questions in a fake addicted world, I know.

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