The Inferno and Other Art

Mural of a firefighter hard at work in Ternei, Primorye, Russia. Photograph courtesy Anton Gabrielson.

The Russian province of Primorye is unexpectedly rich in public art, particularly the capital city of Vladivostok. This port town is awash with stunning renderings of cityscapes, landscapes, and surrealism that blanket a diversity of otherwise grey spaces peppered throughout the city. Decaying building walls, rusty metal fences, and other urban canvases pop with color and creativity to reward any individuals who take the time to notice their surroundings. A bus stop near downtown is shaded by a relief cut into the concrete; a tree with branches interweaving to spell the word “Vladivostok.” A life-sized and colorful trolley-car adorns the brick retaining wall in another part of town along an unused railway track. And by the bay, a massive whale crowds the side of a two-story building; painted in a way that the windows of the second floor become houses in a city tenuously supported on the back of the enormous cetacean.

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