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Pieces of Eight

Yelena Francis, Russian instructor at ECU, stands in front of a display of photographs taken in her native country. (Photo by Christine Neff)

Display Provides Snapshot Look at Russian Life, History

By Christine Neff

Yelena Francis, a new Russian instructor at East Carolina University, hopes to give the ECU community an insider’s look at her native country through an exhibit on display now at Joyner Library.

“Russia – Ancient and Modern” takes a snapshot look at scenes in and around St. Petersburg, Russia.

Francis solicited photographs from former classmates and students, friends and relatives for the display. “I told them about my idea, and they began to send me pictures. Finally, I was almost buried under them,” she said.

The small exhibit in the hallway past the library’s reference desk shows about 18 photographs of buildings, scenery and people.

The boyhood home of famed Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov is pictured, as well as the cabin that housed the nanny of poet Alexander Pushkin. A photograph of the Resurrection of Christ church in one of Russia’s oldest cities hangs above a picture of a park founded by Catherine the Great.

Francis chose pictures that would remind people of Russia’s great cultural heritage and diverse population. “This is a mosaic that tells a little bit about mysterious Russia that is so far, so big and so different,” she said.

The display includes novels, films and music by Russian artists. It is the first of several exhibits Francis plans to bring to campus.The display will be at the library through October.

Persons interested in Russian history and culture can also attend a movie night sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages.

Russian films with English subtitles are shown on the first and third Wednesdays of the month in ECU’s Bate Building 2011.

This page originally appeared in the Oct. 3, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at http://www.ecu.edu/news/poe/Arch.cfm.