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Victoria Lomasko’s Pussy Riot Drawings Censored from Feminist Exhibition “International Women’s Day” (Moscow, Russia)

March 8, 2013

via Victoria Lomasko

 

Four of Victoria Lomasko’s drawings were removed from the exhibition “International Women’s Day. Feminism: From the Avant-Garde to the Present,” curated by Manezh director Marina Loshak, the State Russian Museum’s Olesya Turkinaand Natalia Kamenetskaya, which opened on March 7th, 2013 at the Manezh Museum and Exhibition Center “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” in Moscow.  In recent years, Lomasko has been in the middle of the most radical social and political events in Russia, depicting the trials of members of the contemporary art community and activists, mass protests, as well as life in the Russian provinces.

As the artist herself related the incident:

The organizers took down a drawing depicting the [LGBTQ] rainbow rally column,  one with the nationalists shouting “Pussy Riot – in the trash!”, and a portrait of a pensioner who wants to participate in the punk prayer [The woman holds a placard saying “What a talent for treating people like idiots” and exclaims “Well done, Pussy Riot! I’d sing ‘Mother of God, Drive Putin Out!’ with them”].  The curators of the exhibition explained that any mention of Pussy Riot is dangerous today.  

The remaining fourth drawing, is a quite harmless portrait of Kapitalina Ivanova, a communist. One of the curators of “International Women’s Day,” Natalia Kamenetskaya commented that : “This a very low quality work. It is more appropriate for “The Feminist Pencil,” [Feministski Karandash, an exhibition co-organized by Lomasko last fall] but not for this exhibition.” Curator Olesya Turkina added that: “This is an exhibition, not a boudoir.” And so, “Kapitalina Ivanova” was also removed.

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Three of Victoria Lomasko’s drawings censored from the exhibition

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Lomasko’s portrait of Kapitalina Ivanova, so named in honor of Marx’s Capital

The activist group “Feminist Initiative” and the artistic association “Feminist pencil” remarked that “the censorship of works related to the renowned women political prisoners convicted for their feminist performance, discredits the ​​feminist focus of this exhibition.”

In support of Lomasko, members of the “Street Art Union,” Anton Nikolaev and Alexey Knedlyakovsky, as well as the writer Dmitry Cherny, one of the leaders of the Left Front, distributed postcards with the censored works and replaced the drawings  with copies where they should have hung in the exhibition.

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Anton Nikolaev re-posting Lomasko’s censored drawings

Lomasko added:

For this exhibition, I originally proposed my series “Feminine,” as I thought it would be the most relevant. However, the organizers asked me to chose some works related to feminism from my series “Chronicles of Resistance.” Therefore, I chose portraits of women participating in the recent rallies in Russia.

The assistant curator told the activists distributing postcards with the censored works that Lomasko was not invited to participate in the exhibition at all. But, as it turns out, her works were mentioned in the exhibition catalogue.

The email below documents the agreement between Aleksandra Ivanova, the assistant curator and Lomasko, arranging the transportation of the latter’s works for the exhibition.

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In the end, Lomasko’s works were returned to her together with a contract from the Manezh, stating that the original number of works was indeed four.

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It is also worth mentioning that the exhibition “International Women’s Day. Feminism: From the Avant-Garde to the Present” did not include “Pussy Riot,” arguably the most prominent feminist group in Russia today.

Please also see “What Happened at the exhibition International Women’s Day. Feminism: From the Avant-Garde to the Present”?

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