Ex-Red Wing defenceman Vladimir Konstantinov exhibits art in suburban Detroit

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Art by former Detroit Red Wings defenceman Vladimir Konstantinov, who was left with disabling brain injuries following a 1997 limo crash, is being displayed to raise funds for an organization that supports people with such injuries.

The exhibition titled “Animals and Inspiration” includes 42 of his pieces and takes place Thursday night at Gallery U in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, The Detroit News reported.

“We consider them folk art,” said Ashley Cook of Gallery U. “They are lots of paintings of animals done in watercolours and paint blots.”

Konstantinov was injured six days after he helped the Red Wings win their first Stanley Cup in 42 years. His rehabilitation has included attending the Universal Institute in Troy, which also operates the gallery.

The exhibition illustrates Konstantinov’s expression through the use of paint, dough and clay. Pieces include three-dimensional works.

Signed and framed artworks are available for purchase. Proceeds will go to the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, a non-profit organization that provides services for those who suffer brain injuries, their families and people who help them.

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The gallery said Konstantinov’s family visited the gallery before the exhibition and they have asked for privacy during the show.

Konstantinov, teammate Slava Fetisov and masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov got into a limo after a team party at a golf course. Travelling about 80 km/h through the suburb of Birmingham shortly before dusk, the limo veered across several lanes, jumped a curb and slammed into a tree.

Fetisov escaped with relatively minor injuries and was able to help the Red Wings repeat as champions the next season.

Konstantinov, who was comatose for more than five weeks following the wreck, and Mnatsakanov both came away with brain injuries. Konstantinov has made slow, steady progress over the years in his rehabilitation.

The limo driver ended up spending time in jail.


Information from: The Detroit News,