Street art. The portrait of Varlam Shalamov

In 2015, on the initiative of the GULAG History Museum supported by Russkaya Platina company the famous street artist Zoom created a graffiti portrait of the author Varlam Shalamov on the wall of the building № 9 on the 4th Samotyochny lane. 

One of the pioneers of the camp topic Varlam Shalamov who survived about twenty years of incarceration didn’t gain renown during his lifetime. His stylized portrait created using masking technique shows through the text of one of his famous Kolyma Stories as if it was typed right on the wall.

“Kolyma camps make up a huge organism located in the eighth part of the Soviet Union. There were several colossal mining administrations on the territory of Kolyma with gold-fields, tin ore mines, and mysterious places of developing a “minor metal.” In summer, a working day at gold-fields was 14 hours (and the norm was calculated based on these 14 hours). There were no days off in summer, and a ‘payroll’ of each production crew changed several times within one gold mining season. ‘Human waste’ was extracted from faces (by means of sticks, buttstocks, pokes, hunger, cold) and put into hospitals, camps for the disabled, and under hills. They were replaced by newcomers from across the sea straight after their transfer, without any limits. Gold extraction performance plans were fulfilled at any cost.”