Mikhail’s Art Gallery
The illustrations in this gallery have been drawn by the gifted Baltic artist Mikhail Khristoljubov.
“Gjest Baardsen’s ACHROSTICHON, a twenty-six-verse autobiographical ballad and other poems.”
“The Battle of Fimreite” – an extract from the “Saga of King Sverre.”
“Peer Gynt” the play by Henrik Ibsen.
I met Mikhail while living in the west of Norway around the turn of the century, when I was working as a professor at Sogn and Fjordane University College. He was living a meagre existence in a refugee camp in the region. He spent most of the day weaving magic with just scraps of paper and a cheap ball-point pen. I only regret that we lost contact, and I wasn’t able to see more of his magnificent creations. Nevertheless, he
has illustrated three books for me (Peer Gynt, King Sverre and Gjest Baardsen).
Mikhail describes his own situation.
I had asked my wife Natasha to ask Mikhail how he had ended up in Norway as a refugee. He provided the following account, which Natasha translated into English:
Mikhail Khristolyubov, Vasiljevich, born 9 September 1959. At an early age, he lost his parents, and was raised in children’s homes. He has many gifts and talents, such as artist, designer, inventor, musician, poet, writer and critic. He studied at the Latvian Art Academy.
From a young age, he was critical of the Communist regime, and thus came under the surveillance of the KGB. He was a strong critic of the Communist order during Gorbachov’s rule. This resulted in him becoming a target of persecution. The government at the time made several attempts at reprisal. Consequently, he fled to Finland, where he lived illegally. At the moment, he is living in Norway as a refugee.