Album of Drawings "North"


This image is from a collection consisting of an album and individual depictions of works of art created in the Kolyma region in 1943. Located in the northeastern part of Russia, Kolyma takes its name from the Kolyma River and includes parts of the present-day Chukotka Autonomous Region and present-day Magadan Oblast. The region contains rich deposits of gold and platinum and was home to Sevvostlag (Northeastern Corrective Labor Camps), one of the Soviet Union’s most notorious labor camp systems. Sevvostlag was administered by a government agency known as Dalstroy (Far North Construction Trust). This collection of pencil, ink, and crayon drawings and water color and oil paintings was created by Sergei Kovalev, a graduate of the Minsk Academy of Arts, who was convicted under Article 58 of the penal code of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). Article 58 was used to arrest those in the USSR accused of counterrevolutionary activity, who were then sent to Soviet labor camps as political prisoners. Kovalev created these drawings and paintings at a hospital in the settlement of Belich’ia, after he arrived from one of the mines of Kolyma. His work is housed in the Memory of Kolyma Museum, which was established on the basis of materials collected by the Yagodnoye District public historical and educational organization “Search for the Unlawfully Repressed.” This organization was founded in 1990 with the goal of locating former prisoners of the Kolyma camps. Kovalev’s drawings depict landscapes of Kolyma, the hospital in Belich’ia, and scenes from literature and folklore. The collection was digitzed in the early 2000s for the Meeting of Frontiers digital library project.

Last updated: December 20, 2017