A women’s revolution, art from the Belarus protests comes to Barcelona
Female-led activism is center of exhibition running from February 5 to 23
The Belarus revolution has a woman’s face: so goes the title of the exhibition at Begemot in Barcelona. Running from February 5 to 23, the art installation explores the ongoing protests in Belarus and the art that has been born from the conflict.
RAZAM, the Belarus association in Catalonia, has set up art installations in the small studio in the center of the city that, despite its size, leaves a lasting impression.
Belarussia, a landlocked country in eastern Europe, has been under the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko for the past 26 years. In August 2020, Lukashenko ran and was re-elected as the country’s leader for a sixth term, sparking protests throughout the country.
Peaceful activists were met with suppression, prompting a moving protest of women stepping out on the streets of their country dressed in white and holding to call for an end to violence.
“We wanted to do this exhibition to show people what Belarus has been like and what Belarus currently is.” explained Anna Mikhalchyk, a RAZAM associate, to Catalan News.
"Belarus is like a woman who has been mistreated, and it has been so for the past 26 years"
Anna Mikhalchyk · RAZAM associate
“Belarus is like a woman who has been mistreated, and it has been so for the past 26 years. Now, it has finally, drawing from its own strength, managed to leave this complicated situation of abuse, but it still needs support.” she went on to add.
The exhibition shows videos, paintings, photos, and an installation; melting different mediums to make the display an all-encompassing audiovisual experience.
An emotional video sets the tone for the tour, as the political unrest in the country and women’s role in the matter is explained to visitors.
Quickly, the tour moves on to a wall that puts on display the women who have headed the revolution, with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the opposition candidate to dictator Lukashenko, taking center stage.
“Women gave the protests a new leash of life,” explained Alena Turava, the president of RAZAM to Catalan News.
Another feature of the gallery is the celebration of Nina Baguinskaya, a 74 year old woman who has been opposing the regime in her country for the past 30 years. Her Vogue covers feature proudly in the central wall.
Repression leading to creativity
Due to the repression of protest activities, people in Belarus have had to come up with creative techniques to show their disagreement, with photos displaying protest methods such as knitting, singing, and wearing the colours of the opposition flag to the regime.
Art has also come from the gallery’s organizers, who saw what was happening in their home country and decided to follow their fellow countrymen’s lead and create an installation to reflect the political situation of Belarus.
A kafkaesque frame closes off the visit, leaving a thought-provoking experience that gives an insight into what is history in the making.