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Gifts of art … and heart

Arthur Apanksi believes in many things, but above all, he believes in the collaborative power of art.

“I believe that art belongs to everyone,” the Moscow-born artist said.

“It is not a commodity to be traded or invested in. Art belongs to everyone and entire civilisations,” he said.

Thanks to his generosity, a collection of his pieces proudly belongs to the staff and students – now and of the future – at the Toowoomba campus of the University of Southern Queensland.

With a background in theatre production and stage acting, Mr Apanski migrated to Australia in the late 1990s and has been painting full time since 2005, named as a winner and finalist in numerous art awards.

When he was approached to bring a touring exhibition to the University in 2020 by the USQ School of Creative Arts, he advised he’d like to gift a set of works to USQ at the completion of the exhibition as a token of his appreciation.

“I started doing that very early on in my artistic career asa way to keep an enduring relationship with the galleries I was lucky enough to exhibit at,” Mr Apanksi said.

“I always like to leave a piece behind of mine. It’s an unconditional expression of love and gratefulness and speaks to my belief that art shouldn’t serve a personal agenda.”

Unfortunately, the 2020 show bound for USQ was unable to move ahead, but to the artist’s credit he still wished to donate a set of pieces to the University and sent through a selection of works to be chosen by USQ’s Curator (Arts and Exhibitions), Brodie Taylor.

“All institutions require wisdom to contrive their vision and strategy, strength to support it, and beauty to adorn the finished work,” Mr Taylor said.

“With this in mind, we chose the Reincarnation works which are now on display in the USQ Governance office at the Toowoomba campus. In the chosen pieces, Arthur Apanski eloquently harmonises concepts such as scientific enquiry and personal spirituality; bringing them together through his kaleidoscopic vision to create truly awe-inspiring work.

“USQ continues to keenly acquire new artworks that fill conceptual gaps in the USQ Art Collection. This donation will add Arthur’s unique artistic commentary of Science and Spirituality to our collection.

“Cultural generosity, such as Arthur’s, sets an example we all can aspire to; and cultural gifts such as these opens up new and exciting artistic forms of scholarly research

It provides support to our creative industry, whilst also beautifying our campus and boosting the cultural morale of the University.”

For the artist, the bequeathing of works to an institution that is both grateful and understanding of his mission, offers priceless satisfaction.

“It feels very good and in this case it’s important for me to see universities with art,” Mr Apanksi said.

“People learning are inspirational and when I see that there is interest and connection and understanding of art, I feel grateful that some of my work is hung in a space where the future is being built,” he said.

“As a society, we have a conscious awakening right now; an awakening away from the idea of everyone for themselves and instead realising the importance of collaboration – this is a transforming time.

“Based on this, it makes sense to me to play a part in this process of awakening by giving away my works to universities and other public places – it makes me happy.”

man in rocks
Photo credit: Bernie Fischer