SHARMANKA (Russian word for “Barrel-Organ”) is a collaboration between sculptor-mechanic Eduard Bersudsky, theatre director Tatyana Jakovskaya, and light and sound designer Sergey Jakovsky.

Eduard Bersudsky (b. 1939, St.Petersburg, Russia - then Leningrad, USSR) is a self-taught visionary artist. He started carving in his late 20-s, while making a modest living as a metal worker, electrician, skipper on the barge, night guard and a boiler man, and got his education in museums, libraries, exhibitions, and evening classes for drawing and sculpture.

In 1974-80 Bersudsky took part in some exhibitions of “non-conformist art” - a movement of artists who wanted to avoid the control of the official Soviet ideology.

In 1974 he found a job in the park department to carve giant figures out of fallen trees for children playgrounds. At the same time in his only room in a communal flat he began producing the kinemats - kinetic sculptures driven by electrical motors and controlled by sophisticated electro mechanical devices, incorporating pieces of old furniture, metal scrap and grotesque carved figures. Until 1989 his kinemats could be seen only by few friends and acquaintances.

In 1988 his met Tatyana Jakovskaya (b.1947), a theatre critic and director. Together they founded Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre (opened in St.Petersburg in 1990). A mechanical movement of kinemats has been supported with music, light and shadow play. The third member of team – Sergey Jakovsky (born 1980) – joined Sharmanka at the age of 13 and gradually became responsible for light/sound design as well as technical management.

In 1993 Sharmanka was driven out of Russia by economical depression and lack of support for art. At this time Glasgow Museums bought some of its exhibits for Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art and invited it to make a personal show at McLellan Galleries.

In 1996 Sharmanka Kinetic Gallery/Workshop has been opened in Glasgow Merchant City.

In 1999 Sharmanka (in co-operation with Tim Stead and Annica Sandstrom) was awarded The Millennium Festival Grant to build The Millennium Clock at Royal Museum in Edinburgh (now at the collection of the National Museums of Scotland)

In 2002 Sergey Jakovsky received BA in technical theatre from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Since then he has built his own artistic reputation as theatre lighting designer working with numerous companies in Scotland and beyond. Sergey has also become the lighting and sound designer for all of Sharmanka’s new work and technical manager for exhibitions and theatrical collaborations.

In 2005 Eduard Bersudsky received “Creative Scotland Award”

In 2006 the block of building, housing Sharmanka and other art organisations was closed for renovation. It was reopen in  2009 as art and creativity centre “Trongate103”

Performances of kinetic sculptures are attended by thousands visitors every year. Among them – tourists from all over the world, families, school groups, students, SEN groups etc. At the same time Sharmanka undertakes commissions and numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally

Friends of Sharmanka is a charity, registered in Scotland SC023931. Its activities have been supported by grants of Glasgow City Council, The Scottish Arts Council, Awards for All, Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust, The Foundation for Sport and Arts and private donations.