Thursday, November 29, 2018

Open Letter Re: The Closing of the Saskatoon Office of the Provincial Archives at the University of Saskatchewan.

By Charles Smith 

(For information on how to add your name to this open letter see the end of the post)

It has recently been brought to our attention that the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan (PAS) has made the decision to consolidate its holdings and close its office in Saskatoon at the University of Saskatchewan. The Saskatoon office has existed as an important part of the University’s research network since the archive board was created in 1945.

The mandate of the provincial archives is to act as a repository of “both in-person and distance research into family history, government policy and accountability, educational history, past eras, business and social organizations, land settlement, local history, geographic places, cultural developments, human rights, community events and provincial celebrations.”

In performing this vital role, the archives allow both researchers, students, and everyday citizens to inquire into the province’s past, in order to examine the “documentary heritage of the province.” Archivists are expertly tasked with the important work of organizing these invaluable documents and making them accessible to the general public. Given the numerous restrictions that exist around existing catalogued material, the closure of the Saskatoon office will make it even more difficult for researchers to access necessary records.

The closure of the Saskatoon location comes on top of the dramatically scaled back hours that the archive has been offering for the past several years. In fact, the reductions in staffing and now the closure of the Saskatoon branch of the archives will have dire consequences for people attempting to access records, which could mean even longer delays in cataloguing new material while also extending the wait times for researchers to access existing records.

Even if this closure allows the Regina office to expand its collection or to hire new staff, students, faculty, and researchers coming to Saskatoon will run into a never-ending series of issues trying to access essential information. Moreover, with the closure of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company, it will be increasingly difficult for researchers to travel to Regina to access essential records.

We urge the PAS to reconsider this decision. The archives are essential for citizens to access necessary public information. Such a closure will be a loss for students, faculty and the general public at the University of Saskatchewan.

Charles Smith is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of  Saskatchewan  

To add your name to this open letter please email:

Do you have a left point-of-view or opinion, event or petition, a recipe or a story you want to share?

Send them to The Left Chapter via!

It is also now possible to support the work The Left Chapter does via Patreon. We appreciate any level of contribution. It will help us to continue to provide our ad-free, subscription free content.

Become a Patron!

"You can't hang us all. They will avenge me." - Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, Anti-Nazi Hero Murdered November 29, 1941

On November 29, 1941, 18 year old Soviet resistance fighter and partisan Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was murdered by the Nazis. Zoya had been caught after setting fire to stables being used by the genocidal invaders in a village outside of Moscow. She had refused to inform on her comrades despite brutal Nazi interrogation.

As she was lead to be publicly executed among her final words were : "You hang me now, but I'm not alone. There are 200 million of us. You can't hang us all. They will avenge me."

On May 2, 1945 the Soviet flag was hoisted over a burnt out Reichstag in Berlin by the victorious Red Army. Zoya was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and was regarded as one of the greatest heroes of the USSR.

She is a global hero in the history of resistance to and sacrifice in the face of fascist evil.

-Sculpture by Tverdyanska Lidiya Aleksandrovna, Soviet Ukrainian artist (1912-1984) 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Beef Barley Soup w. Kale, Parsley & Carrots

Submitted by Natalie 

A hearty soup is perfect on a cold or rainy fall day and Beef Barley Soup is a classic. This is my take on it with kale, parsley and carrots.


Approximately 1 lb of beef cubes
2 carrots cubed
big handful of kale chopped/shredded.
Reserve some extra kale to add at the end, just before serving.
2 onions chopped
3 cloves of  garlic chopped
1 cup pot barley (rinse well several times with cold water)
1 TB fish sauce
2 cubes beef bouillon
1 TB vegeta seasoning
Cayenne pepper, pepper and salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped Parsley
1 tsp cumin
Splash of red wine

To begin, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot to medium-high. Season your beef cubes with salt and pepper to taste and then brown them in pot.

Once browned remove the beef from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot add a bit more oil if needed and saute the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes.

Add the carrots and kale and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

Return beef to the pot. Add more salt and pepper to taste, then add the fish sauce, beef bouillon, vegeta seasoning and a splash of red wine to bring it together. Simmer, stirring constantly, for about a minute.

Add about 4 liters of cold water.

Finally, add the washed barley.

Simmer, covered, for 45 mins or until barley is tender. If you'd like more kale, add 1 C shredded at this point, cook for a few minutes to meld with the soup.

Season with cayenne and a bit more salt and pepper to taste, as needed. Add the parsley to the soup stirring it in.

Serve bowls of the soup garnished with extra parsley if desired. Also nice with some baguette pieces on the side.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Yuri Pimenov, People's Artist of the USSR (1903-1977) w. 50 Colour Plates

Yuri Pimenov, one of the great artists of the Soviet Union, was born November 26, 1903. Over the course of his remarkable career he captured many aspects of Soviet life. In 1972 Aurora, the Soviet art publishing house, issued a retrospective of his work that included many of his best pieces from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Pimenov tackled varied themes and his work included forays into movie and stage posters as well as theater set design. But to me where he truly shines are in his streetscapes, his portraits of people -- often at work or in the city -- and in his sometime unnerving, atmospheric stills.

Among the 50 pieces posted here 1937's New Moscow is considered one of his masterworks with its sense of vibrancy, energy and transformation. Tyre Tracks (1944) is a haunting snowscape scene during the war. Pouring Rain (1967) and Kaliningrad - Rain (1968) are two of his works that include rain, a backdrop which he greatly enjoyed using. The Beginning of Love (1960) is a very romantic take on a daily transit commute while another portrayal of a couple, The Argument (1968) reminds a bit of Rockwell.

"Marusia, lunch time" (1951-56) marvelously captures women construction workers, while Wedding on Tomorrow's Street (1962) is a favourite of mine as a wedding party is finely decked out in total contrast to the surroundings of the building of a new housing district that is about them. This type of contrast is seen again in Trendsetters of the New District (1961) and Roads (1969).

The Call of the Road (1959) captures that feeling that comes when on the verge of a new journey, while Waiting (1959) is stunning with its uncradled phone leaving one uneasily wondering just what is going on on yet another rainy -- and in this case seemingly bleak -- day.

Pimenov won many of the Soviet Union's highest honours that were awarded to artists. He died in 1977.

“I love to paint rain. This world can be a very beautiful, if a person is currently set at the beauty. If a person has bad at heart, if he is disappointed and sad, rain will put into him melancholy. Urban rain is full of different images and moods. It brings to the artist no less richness of sensations and feelings than the field, covered with gray veil of autumn, than the sparkling drops on pine branches, and the sun through the steamy air of wet forests. On the theme of rain in the city are created a lot of variations in art, and, of course, will be done very much in painting and poetry, and film. In fact, every day we are in a volatile nature, and only absolutely apathetic people are completely...indifferent to it” - Yuri Pimenov 

(click on images to enlarge)

Actress, 1935

Boule de suif, Film Poster, 1934

Golden Nude, 1932

Woman in a Hammock, 1934

Figure Study with a Pitcher, 1932

Still-life with Straw Hat, 1936

Rose Nude, 1932

Portrait of Zinaida Reich, 1934

Still-life with Telephone, 1934

Portrait of Varia Shitakova, 1935

The Wedding, Film Poster, 1935

The Art of Intrigue, Playbill, 1935

Peter, Film Poster, 1935

Portrait of Lydia Eremina, 1935

New Moscow, 1937

Tania Komarova, 1944

Tyre Tracks, 1944

Railway Station in Autumn, 1945

The Flower Seller, 1944

Still-life with Orange, 1944

Morning, 1946

Drop-curtain design for the opera Pagliacci, 1957

Composition on the theme of the opera Pagliacci, 1968-69

Drop-curtain for the play La dame aux camelias, 1946

The Ball at Olympia's, Scene design for the fourth act of 
La dame aux camelias, 1946

Composition on the theme of the play
La dame aux camelias, 1968-69

Pouring Rain, 1967

Strawberries and Cream, 1956

Waiting, 1959

Paris, Ruse Saint-Dominique, 1958

Venice, The Lonely Flower Seller, 1958

Venice, The Straw Hat Shop, 1958

Venice, Washday, 1958

The Call of the Road, 1959

Cloudburst, 1963

The Argument, 1968

Kaliningrad, Rain, 1968

Lunchtime at the Spa, 1961

Things Old and New, 1967

Washerwomen, 1961

The Beginning of Love, 1960

A Pane of Glass, 1966

"Marusia, lunch time!" 1951-56

Working Clothes, 1967

Between Work and the Theatre, 1960

Roads, 1969

Trendsetters of the New District, 1961

Wedding on Tomorrow's Street, 1962

Epona, Goddess of Horses, 1965-66

Portrait of Tatyana Samoylova in the Role of Anna Karenina, 1966

See also: The Professions -- A Soviet Socialist Realist Art Portfolio for Children

See also: Issues of Contemporary Reality in Soviet Art 1940s-1960s -- A Vintage Portfolio of 16 Works, 1977