Friends World Committee for Consultation - Europe & Middle East Section


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Exhibition of pictures by Richard Kilbey in Eparchial Museum of Church History, Samara

September 6th 2010 saw the opening by Archbishop Sergius of an exhibition of pictures by Richard Kilbey in Eparchial Museum of Church History, Samara.

Richard Kilby was part of an American and British Team of Quakers who were engaged in relief work in the Buzuluk region in the period from 1917 to 1931; during the famines that followed World War 1 and the Civil War and the period of reconstruction in the 1920s.

Richard (Dick) Kilbey was born at Itarsi in India on 30th December 1897 one of four children of missionaries Francis and Mary Ann Kilbey.

As a young boy he was sent back to England to school. In 1916 he joined the Friends Ambulance Unit and after famine broke out in 1921 he joined the Quaker team based in Buzuluk. He was an amateur artist and took his sketch pad with him. The result was a collection of pen and ink drawings, water colours and pencil sketches of people and places in Buzuluk and the surrounding villages.

After he died in 1984 the pictures passed into the care of his Quaker Meeting, Wells-next-the-sea who have lent the collection to Samara’s Eparchial Museum. The exhibition will run until December 2010.

The opening of the exhibition also sees the launch of the Russian language edition of David McFadden and Claire Gorfinkel’s book “Constructive Spirit, Quakers in Revolutionary Russia”. The translation is the result of local initiative in Samara.

Constructive Spirit is an authoritative account setting the stories of the individuals working with the refugees and the local population, in feeding centres, work rooms, orphanages and hospitals in the Volga region, in its broader historical and political context.

The opening of the exhibition saw also a round table conference of academics and visitors, hosted by Archbishop Sergius of Samara and Syzranski, who examined the struggle against hunger in the Volga region in the 1920’s.

Visitors to the opening included Margarita Wood of Wells-next-the-Sea Quaker Meeting, and Sergei Nikitin of Friends House Moscow’s International Board. Visits to the 1920’s Quaker Centres in Buzuluk, Sorochinshoye and Totskoye took place around the time of the opening.

Contact name: Peter Dyson


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