Art critic Inga Šteimane, head of the Art-Station “Dubulti”, stated: “In my opinion, the story of Belarus in connection with the war in Ukraine fell into a kind of shadow, and now we see that it is becoming more and more relevant, especially with the last week’s announcements about nuclear weapons, when Belarus actually becomes about a hostage. And for me personally, it was important to continue the work of the Art-Station “Dubulti” started last year – to search very directly, very practically, how to integrate current politics into art. Belarus is also a place where people really suffer, where their rights are completely violated , where they tried with all their best,with the most beautiful will to make the democratic changes, but they did't succeed. They were literally rolled into the asphalt.”
“Me and the Belarusian community in Latvia wants to show that the protest was not short-lived, it affected everyone, Belarusians have already protested in all possible ways, and we tried to give our creative response to every terror of the state power. When white-red-white flags were banned, people started to hung out inscriptions, when inscriptions were banned, people started to hung out laundry in colors of protest, trying to prove their right to freedom, but for any expression of their opinion they wehe threatened with arrest,” says the curator of the exhibition Dzianiss Davidaus.
The exposition is at once tragic and at the same time ridiculously absurd, and full of amazing people's creativity. For example, people hung underwear and socks in the colors of the banned Belarusian flag and were arrested for it. Someone was fined for displaying a TV box in similar colors in the window. And so absurdly that the regime considered white snowmen as a threat.
“These are all documentary photographs of the events. In today’s conditions, it was difficult to collect them, because many photographers have been arrested and their archives confiscated. Many cannot be found in Belarus,” the curator says about what can be seen in the exhibition. “In the first part of the exhibition, we wanted to show terror and absolutely senseless violence against unprotected women. Their only weapon was red lipstick. And for that they were arrested and sentenced to 24-hour detention.”
“One of the most interesting visual symbols of the 2020 revolution in Belarus are precisely these “District flags”, as they were called. They are based on interpretations of the historical flag of free Belarus in 1918,” notes Inga Šteimane. “But what I think is the most interesting and can be only in the 21st century, that the principle of white-red-white stripes remains in a certain proportion, but in these stripes every neighborhood, every street, every institution, every two girlfriends or a community of neighbors, or people meeting by chance, or whatever another association could create their new revolutionary flag with their own sympbols.”