August 31, 2021

Russia Tire-d of Folk Art


Russia Tire-d of Folk Art
Tire Art in Comrat, Moldova. Photograph by Haley Bader

Fans of the former Soviet Union may recognize something iconic in the tire swan: a tradition in many a small town, the art form of turning tires into animals has long roots. However, at the beginning of July, the Russian government banned the decorations in the attempt to beautify residential areas. While such measures have been enacted in various Russian regions, this move formalizes the policy.

The Russian online publication Meduza reported a fantastic piece with images of many a lawn swan and his brethren. “Cult objects that have long become one of the symbols of Russian urban everyday life,” the rubber art is appreciated in some circles as a form of “folk art.” Practitioners have explained that they view it as means to beautify their communities and make children happy.

You won’t just see bevies of swan - the sculptures come in elephant, heron, cat, swan, motorcycle, and other forms. They are popular across the country, and some pieces have even reached Internet fame. In cities like Kalyazin, a person must pay 100 rubles to the owners of an art garden several hundred square meters in size in order to take a photo.

While some lack appreciation for art made from trash, there is something to be said about creatively disposing of rubbish. Tires are huge and release dangerous chemicals into the soil and air when decomposing. Why not tackle rot with art?

 

 

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