March 04, 2018

Anatoly Vladimirovich Zhdan, зоопарк / zoo

this picture and the next six courtesy of Olga Likhacheva
(website RusNomad)

The storks pictured above are part of a sculpture garden in the  capacity of a zoo, located in the middle of a residential area in the Belarusian city of Minsk.

Life and works

Born in 1940 or 1941, Anatoly Zhdan became a gas and electric welder, a job he had until his retirement around 2005. 

One day when retired, he and his wife Nikolaeva (who passed away early 2013) made a trip to the recreation area near the reservoir of Volchkovichi (Ptich), about sixteen kilometers south-west of Minsk. It so happened that during that trip he saw two self-made storks.

This inspired him to make such a couple himself. The result was certainly successful and Zhdan felt motivated to continue making sculptures of animals.

So these two storks marked the beginning of a project that started around 2008  In the following years it would result in a large variety of animals grouped in a part of a public garden near Zhdan's house. Currently (early 2018) the site includes over a hundred creations.

As basic material Zhdan uses polystyrene, occasionally supplemented with an iron frame or some wood for stability.

Polystyrene is a lightweight plastic that is widely used as packaging material during transport of refrigerators and similar household appliances. It is easy to work with a knife and objects made with this material are not so sensitive to weather influences.

Anatoly Zhdan is regularly provided with excess polystyrene packaging by inhabitants of Minsk

The zoo currently holds a lively collection of large variety of animals, like all sorts of birds such as parrots, cranes, pelicans and owls, various predators such as tigers and panthers, and of course zebras, panda bears, and so on.

In short, the livestock that one usually can see in a zoo.

Zhdan's art environment generally is appreciated by the people living around. It is reported that the site hardly is affected by vandalism, although two storks have been stolen....

As the video below shows the site was on TV.  It also got the attention of touristic website Ru-nomad and other touristic websites (see documentation).

* Article (January 2018) on website Rus-nomad
* Article ( May 2017) by El Marachi on website
* Article (June 2014) on website WhereMinsk
Article (October 2012) on website City Dog

* Video by Belarusian TV (CTVBY) (YouTube, 6'11", April 2017)

Anatoly Vladmirovich Zhdan
st. Sedykh, 30 Minsk, Belarus 
situated in a public park in a residential area

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