In European culture the wolf is an animal with strong associations. It gave rise to the legends of werewolves, thus inspiring the creation of those mythical creatures, telling stories of people morphing into wolves under a mysterious pact. But the werewolves we will see in the exhibition will not depict those literally.
What served as main inspiration for the exhibition was a set of traditional stories collected by Clarissa Pinkola Estés in her book “Women Who Run with the Wolves.” At the request by the curator Viive Noor, the artists took up the well-known and popular motives of wolves and werewolves in new forms and ways. Thanks to rich styling and different techniques illustrators of the Baltic countries managed to create a new version of the theme that is so deeply rooted in European cultures and traditions.
Wolves and werewolves as seen by these artists become symbolically significant as part of the human nature and condition, they amount to a portrayal of the unspeakable. In the presented illustrations werewolves represent vital force. Their background, as well as the environment from which they derive, is constituted by wild nature of the Baltic countries—mythical thick forests of lake districts, glades hidden deep in the woods, present in many of the exhibited works.
The illustrations were made using multiple different techniques, in some of which the input of the local folk culture can be seen, while others are completely modern and wolves and werewolves are wandering through urban jungle or palace parks. Together they construct a multicoloured, dreamlike world inhabited by fantastic beasts that will spark imagination of both children and adults.
The “Running with the Wolves” exhibition was arranged for International Book Fair in London (2018), where Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia were invited as guests of honour. The exhibition is being hosted at Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic by courtesy of Estonian Embassy in Poland, and it is directly under the auspices of the Honorary Consul of Estonia in Białystok—Iwona Wrońska, PhD.