Ждун – From sculpture to symbol

Ждун – From sculpture to symbol
11 February 2017

Last year, the Dutch artist Margriet van Breevoort was asked to design a sculpture for the hallway of the LUMC hospital in Leiden. For this assignment, she designed a rather monstrous, grey creature with the head of an elephant seal and its arms resting on its shapeless belly.

“This creature waits and hopes, and hope is something very important in a medical center”, motivated the creator of the sculpture.

A Russian employee of the hospital was excited about the work of Margriet and decided to share a picture of her creation on the site pikabu.ru. The image of the waiting creature drew lots of attention and started to pop up as a meme on Russian social media. Slowly but surely, it became a symbol of the waiting Russian – patient and hopeful. The creature was called Ждун, derived from the verb ждать, meaning to wait. Nowadays, you can find Ждун online, on VKontakte for example, waiting in typical situations, with his arms resting on his chubby belly and a hopeful look in its eyes.
The artist was rather overwhelmed by all the attention she received. Several Russian companies came up with a proposal to make t-shirts of Ждун, and Russian media are frequently asking for interviews with van Breevoort.

To give you a taste of what you can find, see the creations below.


Ждун waiting for the Zenit stadium to be fnished

“When everybody understands everything, and you don’t”

Russian Post Office

“Plans for February the 14th.
The usual”

Yesterday, on the VK page of Ждун, I saw there has been uploaded a video of Margriet, personally giving her permission to create as many memes of the creature as you would like. So, open Paint and craft your own!

Posted by Ramon Wensink

My name is Ramon and currently I study Russian at the Liden & Denz Institute in Saint Petersburg. During my stay in this marvelous city, I will try to inform and entertain you with various articles.

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