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Subject: Russian Veteran caretaker turns school into art gallery

Written By: Philip Eno on 09/03/15 at 1:32 pm

A 90-year-old caretaker has spent 25 years painting murals on the walls of the school under his charge.

Former art teacher Valery Khramov works as a janitor at School No.168 in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, but in his spare time he's been painting elaborate scenes all over the school building, Russia's Channel Five TV reports. Set over three floors, his work is thematically separated into such subjects as the seasons, nature, geography, architecture and fairy tales. Mr Khramov tells local news website that he spent the past three months doing nothing but painting and drawing, with 10 nights of virtually no sleep to get ready for the new term.

Headmistress Tatyana Vyatkina loves the artist's work, saying: "People who come to visit us are always struck by the paintings. At the same time, it helps to conceal some of the school's rougher edges." And the murals are popular with students, too. "At break time, we won't run the way we do normally, but look at the paintings instead, how they've been painted," one pupil tells Channel Five. "Just imagine the range of colours that were needed."

Khramov says his aim was to instil "a love for art and nature" in the students who pass through the school. "I painted all these things in order to foster in the children a sense of what's beautiful," he tells, adding that he does sometimes face a battle with students who want to "add" to his work.

Unfortunately, the march of time is taking its toll. Some of his older pieces are beginning to fade and flake, and in some places plaster is crumbling from the walls. One day there'll be nobody to restore the works, he says, but at the moment he's happy to come in and paint. "Not only in this school, but any."

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