Commemorative plaque to Varlam Shalamov
Moscow, Chisty Pereulok, 8
Unveiling of the Varlam Shalamov plaque was held on October, 30, 2013, on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression.
Despite the fact that many Varlam Shalamov lived and worked in Moscow, the capital yet didn’t have a monumental work to perpetuate memory of the genius writer.
In 2012, Moscow Department of Culture supported the collective initiative of the Memorial International Human Rights Society, State Museum of GULAG, editorial staff of Novaya Gazeta, web site Shalamov.ru, Writers’ Union of Moscow and Russian PEN Center. The plaque to the author of Kolyma Tales was decided to be installed at the house number 8 on Chisty Pereulok, where the writer lived since 1934 till he was re-arrested in 1937. Here he began his literary career. Later, in 1953–56 after he left the forced labour camp, he had no right to return to Moscow; however the writer secretly met his family here.
George Frangulyan created an unusual plaque. It is a monumental composition consisting of two torture chambers emerging from the walls of the house. Shalamov’s portrait appears to be sandwiched between them in the angle. Combined with cast bronze the sculpture projects the tragic fate of the writer. “This is not just another plaque, this is a work of art, a stunning bas-relief, significant for the city not only historically but also culturally”, Oleg Khlebnikov, poet, deputy editor of Novaya Gazeta described the work of the sculptor.
The commemorative plaque to Shalamov is the first step in realization of the GULAG Museum and Novaya Gazeta initiative on creating monuments to writers, victims of political repression, including Varlam Shalamov, Isaac Babel and Yuri Dombrovsky, in the capital.