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Babel Village

How a visionary artist Nikolay Polissky transformed a whole village and its people

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Russian artist Nikolai Polissky is famous for the nature-inspired sculpture and architecture that he started creating in his forties. To realise his vision, he didn’t just install his creation in the fields around his home in the village of Nikola Lenivets, but asked the villagers to join is as co-creators. Although they were reluctant at first to take time off from maintenance chores, the rural dwellers were drawn in by invitations to build as many snowmen as they could, before putting together their very own Tower of Babel using local, eco-friendly materials.

Now the village is home to Russia’s biggest land art festival, Archstoyanie, which draws visitors from distant countries. However, fame brings its own problems, as the artist’s original vision is challenged by those who aren’t ready to make the surprisingly modern sacrifices that true art requires.

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