The St Petersburg University museum of Vladimir Nabokov has announced the results of a creative contest dedicated to the 121st birthday of the famous writer. Participants of all ages came up with almost 300 butterflies, each one with their own story, and brought them to life in the most peculiar art techniques – from graphics and collage to quilling and beads embroidery. The museum staff have chosen two best works. The contest entries were submitted by Nabokov connoisseurs from the Czech Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Japan, Tunisia as well as various Russian cities from Yakutsk to Krasnodar.

Vladimir Nabokov expressed an interest in butterflies throughout his whole life: already in his childhood years, he discovered a fancy for entomology and painted a tilted stove in the children’s room on the third floor of the family mansion with images of butterflies. As a grownup, he began studying butterflies professionally and made a considerable scientific input in the study of Lepidoptera. In the later years, the writer drew fantasy butterflies with names also made-up by him on the front pages of his publications that he invariably dedicated to his wife Vera.

In honour of the birthday of the outstanding writer and entomologist, the SPbU Nabokov museum suggested to all comers to create their own butterfly with its story, characteristics and habitat and showcase it in an artistic technique of choice. The winners in the Kids and Adults nominations were announced on the day of Nabokov’s birthday and published on the museum Vkontakte page.

You can see all the 273 contest works here.

Anna Faustova, who depicted a “reflective mirror” of “Oredezh” butterfly that can be found on the Oredezh river banks, took the first prize in the Adult nomination. “One can most often come across this butterfly in Rozhdestveno and Batovo villages, Siversky township and in Nabokov novels”, - wrote the artist in the description.

vzroslaya nominaciya 0

Sofia Megrabyan was named the best author of a child’s work. She submitted an image of a “rosette” butterfly presented in an oshibana technique – created with the use of dried leaves and flower petals. Her butterfly “feeds only on rose pollen and thanks to the wonderful colour can easily disguise itself among the favourite flowers”.

detskaya nominaciya 1

The adult winner will receive Vladimir Nabokov’s autobiographical novel “Other Shores”, where the author tells about his childhood in the house on Bolshaya Morskaya street, and the exhibition catalogue “Suprematism Pionneers. Project  Recruitment 100”. The prize for the best children’s work is the fairy-tale by Lewis Carroll “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” translated by Nabokov and the exhibition catalogue “It’s time to drink tea!”.

Moreover, the subscribers can participate in the contest “Butterflies for Nabokov”, that is taking part on the Instagram page of the SPbU Nabokov museum and will last until April, 30. In order to take part in the contest, you should post your creative work on your profile page with a hashtag #butterfliesfornabokov, subscribe to the museum page @nabokov_museum and tag it in the post.