Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, May 16, 2023 @ 8:40 a.m. / Op-Ed

Letter to the Editor: Val Polyanin Represents the American Dream

From Joe Albertson:

The opening of SAFEKEEPING: The Art of Val Polyanin in Crescent City last Friday (May 5th, 2023) was a resounding success both in
attendance and message. Regardless of the individual pieces, the art collection tells an American story.

Val Polyanin's story represents American values. Firstly, it is an
individual story of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Secondly, it stands as a stark warning against socialist and communist ideologies.

The realization of the individual American Dream can manifest itself
in many ways, such as a religious person living out their life as they
see fit, a family with three kids and a white picket fence, or a
person being left alone to pursue the one thing they care about. The latter represents Val's version of the American Dream. He forgoes raising a family or accumulating wealth and instead focuses on doing the one thing he wants to do without being told how to do it: ART!

Even at the age of 70, he continues to create art he loves, regardless of others' opinions about it. Val continues to obtain his version of life and liberty while pursuing happiness in art.

The second story is about the American ideology of freedom for the
individual and how it stands in stark contrast to the supposed utopias of socialism and communism. The Redwood Voice, a youth-led media and community news source, developed a video which can be seen at the gallery that explains it well.

Under communist rule, Val and other artists, as well as citizens in general, are forced to conform to the communist party's standards. Val tells the story of how an artist friend is turned into a "zombie" by the party for failing to conform.

During his time in university, his professor tells him to remove his
nonconforming art from the school and to never show this kind of art again. Val finally risks his life to flee his homeland so that he may freely express himself through art as he sees fit. "Freedom Art" is his battle cry. Val's story exemplifies how socialist and communist regimes, which preach an ideology of equity/equality for all, end up requiring everyone to conform to the party or ruling class. Those who fail to conform risk lobotomizing, prison, torture, or even death. The American Dream is alive but is under attack from intellectual elites who would force us all to adopt their vision of cosmic justice, which will end in forced conformity to their "enlightened" view. Polyanin's images of the world are often twisted, distorted, and stretched, and should serve as a reminder that socialist and communist regimes are opposed to classic American values that allow for real diversity of opinion and thought.

I encourage everyone to view Val's art in downtown Crescent City
during the upcoming First Friday of the month events held from April to October 2023.


Joe Nathan Albertson


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