New East Digital Archive

Art and endurance: glimpse the everyday life of the siege of Leningrad

16 January 2017

Art and Endurance in the Siege of Leningrad, an exhibition of works by Elena Marttila (b. 1923) capturing the experience of everyday life during the Leningrad blockade, opens this week in Cambridge.

The young artist created a visual diary of everything she saw and experienced during the siege, using whatever materials available to her. While the exhibition features portraits of famous figures such as poet Olga Berggolts, known for her work on the Leningrad radio during the city’s blockade, and composer Dmitry Shostakovich, her most compelling images are those of ordinary people.

Art and Endurance in the Siege of Leningrad is accompanied by a programme of film screenings and talks by experts in the fields of history, Russian and music.

Lasting from September 1941 — January 1944, the siege of Leningrad was a German military blockade of the city of Leningrad (present-day St Petersburg), during which time over a million people are thought to have died.

Elena Marttila: Art and Endurance in the Siege of Leningrad will take place from 20 January — 19 March 2017. It is hosted by Darwin College and organised with the support of Sotheby’s together with the Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society. The exhibition is curated by independent curator and resarcher into the art of the Second World War Ksenia Afonina, and Libby Howie, an independent curator with a specialist knowledge of graphic art. You can find more information here.