Soviet Souvenirs

In her new mixed media exhibit “Soviet Souvenirs”, Marilyn Lightstone provides a glimpse of the Soviet era in Mongolia. The exhibit, which combines photographic images of an abandoned Soviet schoolhouse in rural Mongolia with abstract painting, illustrates that while ideologies may come and go, people continue to live their lives.

“The Soviets, once the ‘Powers That Be’ in outer Mongolia, are long gone,” says Ms. Lightstone. “Every now and then, however, in army barracks, supply depots — or as in this case a school house — we are reminded of what used to be.”

The Soviet Union asserted its influence in Mongolia, particularly in the years following WWII. The shift toward reform started in early 1990 with the birth of perestroika and the democracy movement in Eastern Europe. It was during that time that Soviets and Mongolians announced that all Soviet troops would be withdrawn from Mongolia by 1992.

While life in modern day Mongolia has become more urbanized — nearly early half of the people live in urban centers — semi-nomadic life still predominates in the countryside.

“In the capital, Ulaan Baator, western-style houses and apartment buildings are sprouting like mushrooms,” Lightstone says. “But the ger, the traditional round felt home of Mongolia’s nomadic herders — which the Russians called yurts — still hold sway in the vast Mongolian landscape.”

Marilyn LightstoneMarilyn Lightstone’s impressive body of work as a painter and photographer has taken her around the world, including Burma and India. To see her online portfolio, go to Ms. Lightstone is also one of Canada’s most respected actresses, known for her moving performances on stage, screen, and television. You can hear her nightly from 11pm to 1am as host for Classical96.3’s Nocturne.

Soviet Souvenirs #3 2009
Mixed media on canvas 38 x 32 in
Latitude 44 Gallery
2900 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario, 416.769.2900
May 1 to 31, 2009
Part of a group exhibition “Still Transition”
Hours: Tuesday to Friday – 10 to 7, Saturday – 10 to 5.
For more information, click here.