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Soviet Artists Display Works in Boston Subway With AM-Soviet Coup, Bjt

August 23, 1991

BOSTON (AP) _ Soviet emigres whose artwork went on display in a subway station Thursday were buoyant about their homeland’s future and excited to receive recognition in their new country.

The artists were all smiles when asked about the failure of communist hard- liners to overthrow President Mikhail S. Gorbachev and halt his reform of the Soviet system.

″Before this time I didn’t believe that we could stand against the system,″ said Sofia Pinkus, 47, who came to Boston from Leningrad two years ago. ″Maybe this generation is more strong. Now they know what freedom is.″

The exhibit by about a dozen emigres, part of the city’s summer artists festival, opened in the Park Street station amid hoopla from city officials and stares from sweaty commuters.

The exhibit included works reflecting life in the old world - in Pinkus’ case, melancholy chalk drawings of Leningrad - and the new.

Pinkus left the Soviet Union after her husband, an astrophysicist, ran afoul of the government for refusing to work on military technology.

Rimas Bartaus, 29, left Soviet Lithuania five months ago.

In bold strokes, Bartaus painted the Soviet and U.S. flags meeting at the crest of a hill. But in Bartaus’ version, hammers and sickles replace the stars of Old Glory, and the Soviet flag is emblazoned with the golden arches of McDonald’s.

Bartaus said the United States is a good place to be an artist.

″It’s impossible to get paper and inks in the shops at home,″ Bartaus said. ″Here I can get everything I need, and learn many new things. I hope I can say something for the people in my art.″

Nataly Raevich, curator of the exhibit, recalled how the artistic spirit was stifled in the old days of communism.

″Some years ago you could only be an official artist, or an unofficial artist,″ Raevich said. ″The feeling was gone for many. But those days are gone.″

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