13 October 2022 Victoria Lomasko, who will be at the Brescia Peace Festival in November with the exhibition The Last Soviet Artist, talks about the civil role of the artist.
Victoria Lomasko, born in Serpukhov, 99 km south of Moscow, in 1978 is considered by critics and the Anglo-Saxon press as the most important Russian social graphic artist in Russia. Her exhibition 'The Last Soviet Artist', which will be part of the Brescia Peace Festival to be held next month in November, represents the third act of the research undertaken by Fondazione Brescia Musei with the curatorship of Elettra Stamboulis in 2019 into the relationship between contemporary art and denied fundamental rights. The exhibition by Victoria Lomasko follows those of two other dissident artists: Zehra Dogan's, 'We will also have better days. Works from Turkish Prisons', and that of Badiucao in 2021, 'China is not near. Works by a dissident artist'. Having graduated from Moscow State University in Graphic Arts in 2003, Victoria Lomasko immediately embarked on an uncomfortable path in mixing art, activism and personal commitment against the rights trampled on in her country. On 5 March, after ten years of protesting against the regime of Putin's regime, she left Russia. Victoria Lomasko's works have been exhibited at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, which acquired part of her archive, in Basel, London and is currently currently a guest at the Documenta exhibition in Kassel,a five-yearly event dedicated to conteporary art. The Russian artist, in these weeks in Brescia to work on the to work on the preparation of the exhibition that will be inaugurated on 11 November, in the past few days she has participated in a discussion with Badiucao in Palazzo Loggia on how art can be used to denounce human rights violations. of human rights.
On the sidelines of the meeting, he agreed to talk about the plight of the Russian people today and many other issues.
The ongoing repression in Russia does not conceal the malaise that is lives within the country and that she denounces with her art...
Yes, the ongoing war is not only the tragedy of the Ukrainian people, but it is also that of a large part of the Russian people who can no longer cope, who are tired and prostrated by the tired and prostrated by the situation to which it is forced to live. Repression has become increasingly heavy and this is a burden that the many Russians who are against the war are finding increasingly difficult to bear.
You left Russia in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine...
The military action was the classic straw that broke the camel's back, and led to my decision to flee Russia. The conditions of of life have become more and more burdensome, especially for those trying to oppose a regime that over time has taken on the darkest aspects of the worst dictatorships, with the most basic rights denied and trampled upon.
How long will repression manage to keep the country locked down?
I don't know, it is very difficult to say. I I hope that there will also be an awareness on the part of those who today leaders of Russia today that repression and violence will get them nowhere. nowhere, although I know that today this is only wishful thinking. The people is afraid, fears repression, but more and more are experiencing the measures imposed by Putin. Their number is much, much higher than those who support him. There is also another aspect that not to be underestimated and that is the increasing difficulty that from a material and economic point of view, too, that people encounter in everyday life. Today it is the very survival of people who are dramatically experiencing poverty is at risk.
What responsibility does the West have for what is happening in Russia? Putin has only been on the index since 24 February...
It seems to me that in general, today there is universal condemnation only for the war he unleashed on 24 February, while there is generally little attention for the systematic violation of the most elementary rights that has been perpetrated for years. In Italy, and in Brescia in particular, I however, I seem to have grasped a real interest in what has been happening for some time in Russia and in what and what art and culture can do to give give voice and citizenship back to those who have lost it all due to the repression that has been going on for years in the country.