#VictoryPages: Young Russian designers create ‘Endless Letter’ using Instagram Stories
The Instagram account @Pobeda.Page will post several stories daily that will eventually add up to hours of art, quotes and music combined.
“Today we live, but tomorrow or in an hour, a minute you are gone,”“Mom! Don’t make a mistake, don’t join the army, stay at home,”“The city is destroyed... Sorry for Rostov” – simple and sincere words of letters from the front shine light on a different, human perspective in the history of the Great Patriotic War.
On the eve of the anniversary of the victory over fascism, #VictoryLetters unites young artists and personal archives on Instagram.
“Our project is less about the ‘feat of the people’ or the ‘victorious nation,’ it’s more about human fate. The big picture only becomes visible through detail. Through personal stories. And there is nothing more personal than letters,” said the author of the idea, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of RT Kirill Karnovich-Valua.
#VictoryLetters shows daily life during war, what Soviet soldiers saw while moving through territories they liberated from fascist occupation, and what they discovered when they crossed the border with Europe. Letters from home speak of what happened to families during evacuation or occupation, how they lived and worked at the rear, where people lived by the slogan ‘Everything for the front!’
Most of the letters were handed over to the project by Tatyana Vasilevskaya, who, since 2014, has published four volumes of correspondences from the Second World War in her publishing house ‘Kniga’. These testimonies of living history came from personal archives and museums, from families and local historians, from Russia and from abroad.
“Front-line letters are a unique, sincere historical document of the Great Patriotic War. Addressing loved ones, children, mothers, censored yet devoid of false arrogance, these laconic lines create such a magnificent image of a soldier, of people. In my opinion, no scientific treatises are able to answer the question to the same extent as to why it was us who won the worst war in the history of mankind,” said Tatyana Vasilevskaya.
Young artists from the RANEPA School of Design, as well as international graphic artists Mikhail Sorkin and Peter Bankov, were invited to work on the visual part of the projects. Quotes from letters, interspersed with illustrations, create a kind of ‘Endless Letter’ in Instagram Stories. Composer Maxim Makarychev (Sirotkin, On-The-Go) wrote a continuous musical score to complete this ‘letter from the past’.
“Illustrations by young designers and the story format are an emotional bridge from the terrible times of war to the peace we know today, where despite all the horrors, people also loved, worried, dreamed, believed. ‘Endless Letter’ is a generational link that our team will try to recreate using narrative and visual means – with the hope that the youth of today and future generations will understand why this should never be repeated,” said Kirill Karnovich-Valua.
“For students of the RANEPA School of Design, the #VictoryLetters project became not only a professional, but also a deeply human experience,” said Sergey Serov, Ph.D., professor at RANEPA.
“Creative pedagogy, cultivated at the RANEPA School of Design, requires students to develop not only a designer mindset, but also design perception, to take each project to heart, let it pass not only through your mind, but also through your soul. This is exactly what happened with the project #VictoryLetters, in which it turned out to be extremely important to go through a personal experience, where each author was personally involved in the topic. Participation in the project has become important for students not only professionally, but also as a human experience, deeply affecting their emotions, feelings of empathy and compassion.”
The illustrations are made in completely different styles and techniques: from watercolor to etching to collage – some are deeply psychological, some lean towards a more naive style. The works reflect not only personal experiences, but also personal stories.
“It was as if I was living the story of my grandmother, who lost her father at the age of two [and] did not remember him. As a child, she wrote letters to her father addressed nowhere,” said Maria Afonchikova, a project participant.
“When thinking about war, a storm of emotions washes over. Most of them are colored with horror and sorrow, another part is of faith and love. A small piece, but of such incredible strength that it helped cope with evil. And so now, while working on the illustrations, my mind was torn apart from the realization of loss, while my heart was filled with love, with which these letters were written to relatives and friends,” adds another participant, Ksenia Posternyak.
#VictoryPages was launched by RT on January 13 in honor of the approaching 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and will last until May 9, 2020. Join us on YouTube, Facebook, VK and Twitter, and follow the ‘Endless Letter’ on Instagram.