St Petersburg art group stages “emotional” demonstration to express powerlessness

(Photo: Vadim F Lurie)

Members of the independent art-group Rodina (Motherland) protested on Tuesday (1 November) to express their frustration, sadness and helplessness over Russia’s current situation

ST PETERSBURG: On Tuesday morning, eight members of the St Petersburg-based art initiative Rodina (VK) carried out various demonstrations across the city to express their discontent towards Russia’s current social problems and economic uncertainty. The so-called ‘depressive-demonstration’ was held in front of a cemetery, a church and by a railway station, where participants gathered holding placards with slogans like “you won’t change anything” and “born, tolerated, died”. Bystanders seemed curious but hardly approached the artists, reluctantly asking a few questions.

The aim of the demonstration was to express the mood of a part of Russian society.

“We express a feeling of frustration, sadness and helplessness”, says Darya Apahonchich, a social performance artist and one of the creative minds behind the demonstration.

Together with other young people they organise non-violent protests often carried out in inventive and artistic ways. “All I can say about yesterday is that it was an art statement, a form of demonstration,” she explains. She calls herself an “alas-patriot” a term she has invented herself for this performance. It is intended to stand in sharp contrast to the term ‘ura-patriot’ (‘hooray patriot’) which denotes an extremely patriotic person.

“We consider our art political, though we have no definite political goals, if not that of changing the current situation as a whole,” Darya says. Photographer Vadim Lurie, also present at the demonstration, shot a series of portraits of the silent protesters which went viral on the Russian internet.


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