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The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is taking place in 11 Russian cities this year. Football fans and tourists traveled to Russian cities from all over the world to see their teams, matches and simply enjoy this great atmosphere. The atmosphere is unbelievably friendly. I think even if a person isn’t interested in football at all, he/she will enjoy those World Cup vibes of unity that can be felt by everyone. It’s a very pleasant feeling to see almost all nations together singing and dancing in the streets finally having forgot about politics and wars.

 

Zabivaka (Russian: Goalscorer) is the official mascot of the World Cup. It represents a very cute wolf which became very popular among football fans.

People are literally dancing and singing everywhere in the streets (even in fountains). You can hear so many different tunes, national songs of every country etc. I’m definitely going to miss that!

There were many unusual ways of traveling to Russia. For example, Iceland fans arrived to Russia in a Lada Niva (Russian car which they won in lottery in Iceland). Fan from Germany and his cute dog came to Russia in a tractor. But the most amazing story is connected with Argentinian cyclist Maty Amaya who left home in 2012 and since then has been traveling by bicycle for 5 years, crossed 37 countries and 80000 km. And finally he is in Moscow, enjoying World Cup. I don’t usually take pictures of myself because I prefer being on the other side of the camera. But I couldn’t resist temptation of having a picture with him 😊

The World Cup is not only about football. It’s also about unity, understanding different culture and getting new experience. For example, there was a Mexican festival which showed their beautiful culture and traditions including Day of the Dead celebrations. Mexican House attracts thousands of visitors from all corners of the planet everyday.

Peru House located in the Manege Moscow exhibition centre showcased the best of the country, highlighted the South American nation’s culture including Shaman rituals, art, gastronomy top tourism destinations and leading exports.

Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and introduced their culture and traditions in Moscow.

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FIFA World Football Museum hosted several exhibitions in Moscow. By the way, ball on the 1st picture was used in final match between France 🇫🇷 and Croatia 🇭🇷 in Moscow.

And this picture is probably one of my favorite ones. It shows the real meaning of such events as World Cup.

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A Cappella International Festival in Moscow

This spring the entire Moscow is singing! A Cappella International Festival takes place in the city as a part of the Moscow Seasons street events. Solo performers and vocal groups from all over the world are singing at the most unusual concert venues across city.

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I especially enjoyed a great show by The Alley Cats, a band from LA, California.

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Will Johns in Moscow

Will Johns came to Moscow as a part of British Blues Invasion festival. It was simply a fantastic show, Will played his own great songs and some blues classics. Will is not only a musician, but also an exciting performer with the unique guitar technique. 2.5 hours of live music but it felt like one minute! The band’s sound was amazing, crystal clear and so detailed!

Leading the Will Johns Band he has performed with many renowned artists such as Joe Strummer, Ronnie Wood, Jack Bruce and Bill Wyman.

For more information, music links, updates please visit Will’s website:

http://www.willjohns.com/

 

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Snowy Moscow

Yakimanskaya embarkment.

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Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the Red October Factory.

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Muzeon park of arts is a unique open air museum of sculpture.

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Gorky Park.

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MSU Botanical Garden.

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Tropical winter in Moscow botanical garden.

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Krymsky Bridge.

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World Clock Fountain in the Manege Square.

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St. Basil’s Cathedral in the Red Square.

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Maslenitsa in Moscow

Maslenitsa, also known as a Pancake week, is an ancient sun-festival. After a long winter people are in a festive mood and happy to celebrate the end of the cold season. The celebration has been getting more popular in recent years and now there is a Maslenitsa event on practically every street in Moscow. More than 50 pancake stalls appeared in the city center. Public spaces are decorated with straw, ice sculptures, Russian toythemed carousels. There are also many traditional Russian performances everywhere in the streets!

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Golden Autumn in Moscow

Welcome to the traditional Moscow festival called Golden Autumn! The main event of the festival was a huge gastronomic fair which took place in the different parts of the city. The main venues of the festival included Manege, Revolution Square and Kuznetskiy Most street.

Beautiful and colorful installations from pumpkins, other vegetables and hay appeared on Manege Square. It was very unusual to see a combination of vegetables and historical buildings, museums near Red Square and by the Kremlin Walls. About 25’000 pumpkins were used to decorate Moscow!

But the most surprising part was to see an installation “Artificial wave” for flowboarding which was built just in front of Kremlin Walls.

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A very cozy market took place on the Revolution square. Farms from 40 Russian regions presented their products, including meat, cheese, fish, fruits and vegetables. A market was decorated nicely too.

Even gloomy and rainy weather could not ruin the impressions. Especially when you see a piano just in the middle of the square 😊

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Kuznetskiy Most street was decorated as a fish market with lighthouses.

Autumn is a beautiful season itself but when the whole city is full of pumpkins it becomes even more spectacular!

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The Art of the Brick

The Art of the Brick is a global touring exhibition rated by CNN as one of the world’s “Must See Exhibition”. This exhibition is created by an award-winning artist Nathan Sawaya and it is the largest exhibition of LEGO. Nathan Sawaya’s Lego sculptures are on display in Moscow for the first time ever.

Each section of exhibition has countless colorful LEGO pieces which Nathan Sawaya transformed into inspiring creations. Honestly, I did not know much about the exhibition before I bought tickets. I love LEGO since my childhood so I decided to attend the exhibition anyway. But I did not expect anything I saw there. All sculptures have its own deep meaning. A common toy was transformed into something meaningful which got a status of contemporary art. Nathan’s quotes explaining every piece of art are amazing too!

Before entering the exhibition, the first sculpture you see is the Beatles in front of British flag. 

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The exhibition began with a cozy room which recreated Nathan’s work studio.

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In my opinion, the next section was created to inspire and encourage people to build their own pieces of art, not to be afraid to face some difficulties and fight for their own choices.  “Art nurtures the brain whether made from clay, paint, wood or a modern-day toy”.

Stepladder “Sometimes when you’re looking for a step up, you don’t have to look any further than yourself. We’re all capable of more than we think” © N. Sawaya

Writer “Let your ideas flow. When you let your creativity loose, be it in writing, art, music or whatever, your ideas take on a life of their own. So take those big ideas and set them free” © N. Sawaya

The next sculpture is one of my favorite ones, mainly because of its meaning. Sometimes it’s really difficult to make a right decision based on a million thoughts (those different colors and miniature people filling our brains with ideas). Which thought should be the one to unlock our mind?

The next section of the exhibition is dedicated to Sawaya’s probably best-known and most famous sculpture Mr. Yellow, which looks a bit creepy but I could not stop staring at it. The main idea of this piece is “how catharsis opening oneself up to the world can be for our souls” © N. Sawaya. I totally agree with this point. But actually, everyone can come up with different meaning of each sculpture which makes the whole exhibition even more exciting.

What follows is a section of brick replicas of the most famous ancient sculptures. It includes statues of David, Venus de Milo, Augustus of Prime Porta, Discobolus  and decorative version of Parthenon which was considered some of the high points of Greek art. It was absolutely mind-blowing experience. Can’t even imagine how much time and patience it took Nathan to create those amazing statues!

Nathan Sawaya also creates absolutely amazing portraits with LEGO bricks. The portraits of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Andy Warhol show some seriously impressive accuracy and shading. And look at the Mickey!!!

Now we are moving to the sections entitled The Human Condition and Human Expressions which contain original artwork featuring many sculptures involving the human form. Those sections are mainly dedicated to human differences, feelings and peace.

“Celebrate difference. If everybody looked and was the same it wouldn’t be a very interesting world, would it? So which shape are you? The circle, square and triangle are the fundamental building blocks of all things. And the colors red, blue and yellow are the primary colors of our world” © N. Sawaya

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Look also at those peace symbols! They were created of thousand colorful bricks. The peace means all different colors in the world working together. What a great idea!

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As I said before every Nathan’s sculpture is meaningful and make people to think about their lives, analyzes them. I especially admire the piece of art which is called Grasp. “No matter where your heart wants to lead you, there will be hands that try to hold you back. Life’s challenge is to find the strength to break free. I created this sculpture in response to so many people telling me “no” in my life. I wanted to break free of those people” © N. Sawaya. Many thanks to Nathan for having created this piece of art. It’s so true! People really like to give some advice which mainly based on their own stereotypes, and usually it’s not just an advice but an enforcement to follow it. Everyone is different with their own tastes, opinions etc. But some people don’t really get it.

There are also sculptures which show emotions we experience in different life conditions/situations. Very impressive! The first sculpture is called Grasp and means that a person should beware the winds of life that nibble away their sense of self. It’s necessary to stay strong to become yourself again.

Mr. Gray is almost a self portrait of Nathan. He explains it as follows “Taking a leap is hard. I used to be a lawyer. There was nothing wrong with being a lawyer, but I always knew there was another me, an Artist Me, lurking inside. Then one day I decided to let the Artist in me out, and I never looked back” So much respect to Nathan!

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Absolutely beautiful sculpture in blue! Swim against the current, find the courage within!

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The last but not the least interesting section of the exhibition is called In pieces. It is a multimedia collaboration between Nathan Sawaya and photographer Dean West. The project is a composition of Dean’s photographs and Nathan’s unique sculptures which surrounds the viewer with the physicality of the art. The sculptures were represented on exhibition along with the photos which contain those sculptures. Can you find all the objects on the pictures? 😊

And finally! I was so surprised to see a gigantic sculpture of a dinosaur. It’s the largest sculpture of Nathan’s collection and contains more than 80 thousands bricks! It took him the whole summer to build a dinosaur. He wanted to create something that children would enjoy. And what is better than a dinosaur? But actually adults were even more excited about that sculpture!

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Overall it was absolutely a great experience! It is worth seeing this inspiring exhibition for adults and kids. There are many more other sculptures represented on exhibition, I have just posted the ones that I loved the most. The exhibition gives a great opportunity to think about many things just looking at the LEGO bricks. “Art makes better humans, art is necessary in understanding the world and art makes people happy. Undeniably, art is not optional” © Thanks to Nathan Sawaya!