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Students and faculty attend lecture by two Russian artists and photographers.


Valera and Natasha Cherkashin, two familiar faces to the University of Maryland, paid a visit to the school once again on May 1 to give a lecture about the work they have accomplished for the past several decades. The pair has been working together since 1988. They have traditionally worked with photography and created installations displayed in cities all over the world.
In their own words, the work the husband and wife team create intends to reflect the world around them. The political and social changes over the decades in Russia are of great significance to them.
“We think it is very important to understand the new epoch and bid farewell to the previous one without hatred,” says Natasha, commenting on the downfall of the Soviet Union. “We worked with a fading history and our idea was to treat our past with love and immortalize it.”
They moved slowly from a world of solely Russian perspective to a more global understanding. Their first trip out of Russia was to Santa Fe in 1994 and it changed their motivation considerably. They began including newspapers in their artwork and started experimenting with several other forms of exhibitions as well as videography.
The two contemporary artists are known for their work that transgresses traditional impressions of art. Since 2005, the Cherkashins have compiled stunning photographs of metro systems all over the world under the title  “Global Underground.” They are especially credited with innovative exhibitions of artwork underwater. One of their first of such exhibitions was at the Olympia Stadium in Berlin in 1996. The work, titled “German Atlantis,” was submerged in the official Olympic pool in the stadium. A similar exhibition was held at the University of Maryland several years ago at the pool in Eppley Recreation Center.
One of the couple’s most beautiful and innovative projects,  "Good-bye Favorite European Portraits: hello Euro," was exhibited from 1999-2000 in the atrium pool of the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC. The work commemorated the expansive history and culture of the various European currencies that were discontinued upon the introduction of the euro.


For more information and full galleries of their work, the Cherkashins encourage students and faculty to visit their website at www.metro33.net.

Date of Publication: 
Tuesday, September 25, 2012