My City, My Country: Experience of the Study of the Artistic Space of Belarus
Many years ago, having started regular international thematic exhibition projects in Belarus, the curators of these projects E. Kenigsberg and M.Barazna half in jest, half in earnest asked the invited foreign artists the same question: “Where is Minsk?” The answers received ranged from “Round the corner to the right, take the exit for E-1 and go ahead” to “Somewhere near Moscow”. And some people even thought that Minsk is in Russia or in the Ukraine. Then we decided to find out where, in the opinion of our respondents, Belarus is. The result was almost the same: some claimed that there is no country between Poland and Russia at all, others for some obscure reason placed Belarus somewhere in the Urals. However, there were those who knew that “Belarus is in Europe» and those who were genuinely surprised that Belarus is in Europe. Belarus is a small country, but not smaller than Switzerland.
We are not trying to explain that Belarus is the centre of Europe, and Minsk is the capital of Belarus. We just continue asking questions, listening to the answers, and giving our comments to them with our photographs. Since then, however, presenting exhibitions, giving lectures, participating in seminars and conferences abroad, we have always put the picture from Geography textbook of 1924, clearly showing the location of Belarus in Europe, as the first illustration.
«My City, My Country» is a research project, whose participants are the authors having different creative and life experiences. In the photographs of Veronika Nesteruk we can see Minsk as a place of contemplation and relaxation. Vladimir Andjelich explores post-war architectural landmarks in the main thoroughfare of Minsk. Irina Sakhon reflects on oblivion and nostalgia, and Yulia Belyavskaya thinks about the seeming emptiness of the city suburbs. The series “PS” by Alina Kovaliova is devoted to Grodno, one of the oldest cities in Belarus, where the old architectural and spatial environment organically interacts with contemporary street art. Alisa Liakhovich, Anastasia Sheremeteva and Natallia Marchanka take pictures of nature and architecture of Belarus. Nikita Sergushkin presents his vision of modern Minsk, Viktoria Solovyeva tells us about the children from her courtyard. Polina Lezhanskaya investigates houses as fragments of the city of Minsk, Ekaterina Kenigsberg studies invariable and continually changing scenery outside the window of her flat. Mikhail Barazna in his series of analog photographs «Alone in the City» shows a man’s loneliness in a big city. Interestingly though that the investigation started by M.Barazna in 1992 has a lot in common with the works of students. Consequently, the theme of loneliness in the city, the emptiness and the changes of urban spaces has remained topical over the past twenty years.
About a decade or so we put forward a tentative itinerary of Belarus to foreign artists: Culture – Arcadia – God’s Gift – Palestine – Capital – Paris – Vanguard – The World – Achievement – The Record – The Truth – Paradise. These are real-life settlements in different regions of Belarus. Upon their arrival all comers can be offered a special map of the cultural itinerary and be given a stamp “Art Gallery Belarus” in their passports. Such a trip can become a basis for the development of a new creative initiative.
Ekaterina Kenigsberg and Mikhail Barazna, project curators
Exhibition project «My City,My Country: Experience of the Study of the Artistic Space of Belarus»
- Academy Structure
- Academy Administration
- Faculties of the Academy
- Postgraduate Study
- Master’s Degree Course
- Preparatory Department
- Research Department
- Exhibition Halls «Academia» and “KODEX”
- YE.MIROVICH THEATRE STUDIO
- Hall of Residence
- List Of specializations
- International cooperation