People of Derbent. Painting of Israel Tsvaygenbaum
Russian Language
People of Derbent
14 X 18.4in.
Oil on Canvas. 1999
My father was a gifted storyteller. He would often tell me about life in his hometown of Bedzin (Bendin), Poland. When my father would read me books or tell me stories, he would always describe things in great detail, which later helped me with the subject matter for my compositions. His influence on me is tremendous. Though the painting People of Derbent is dedicated to the people of my birth city Derbent (a town in Southern Russia) and the surroundings do look like the city, the people were painted based on impressions that my father gave me about Jews in Poland. Much of my childhood in this city was so closely linked with my father’s stories of Poland, regardless of the difference of time, generation and culture between these two places. We can see a mixture of two lives; one of the Jews of Poland at the time of my father and the second is contemporary Derbent, two opposite worlds I often thought about and was raised with as a child.

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