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Feminist Art Seeks to Raise Awareness

St. Petersburg showcase of feminist art at Borey gallery features lectures on womens issues alongside the art.

Published: February 27, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • Yana Smetaninas drawing from the graphic story Inmates of the 5th Psychiatric Clinic in Khotkovo.
    Photo: Yana Smetanina

  • ZhENA Groups stencil graffiti addresses the fear of saying no.
    Photo: ZhENA Group

Feminist Pencil 2, an exhibition of socially-engaged art made by women held in Moscow in October and November 2013, comes to St. Petersburg, even if in an abridged form and not with complications.

Curated by artist Viktoria Lomasko and art researcher Nadya Plungyan, the Feminist Pencil concept dates back to 2012, when a small exhibition by six artists was held at the at Fabrika hostel in Moscow.

In 2013, the project won support from the Moscow branch of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, one of the largest political education institutions in Germany, and featured about 40 artists. The exhibition was held as part of the MediaUdar (MediaImpact) festival as part of the Fifth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art and was accompanied by a catalog.

Related: Viktoria Lomaskos Portraits of Life

The genres covered by the more than 20 artists to be exhibited in St. Petersburg include paper stickers, activist posters and leaflets, graffiti, graphic stories and graphic reports as well as artists books.

According to Lomasko, many local galleries refused to host the exhibition when she attempted to bring it to St. Petersburg soon after it had closed in Moscow.

The reason is that theres still no recognition of feminist art [in Russia]; there is no one with a venue or the resources ready to support it, Lomasko told The St. Petersburg Times ahead of the opening.

The word feminism scares people: What is this? they ask. Will they be talking about how they hate men? While everything is clear with exhibitions of complex conceptual art there is an unstoppable deluge of such exhibitions there is no niche for what we do yet. Were creating that niche right now. It is no wonder that we face difficulties.

According to Lomasko and Plungyan, the idea to create the independent Feminist Pencil art group and exhibition arose following an incident at the Worker and the Collective Farm Woman Museum and Exhibition Center in Moscow in 2013, when work by Lomasko and Umnaya Masha was removed from the exhibition Feminism: From the Avant-Garde to Today.

The organizers claimed that the works did not fit due to a limited amount of space and their allegedly poor quality. The artists believe it to be an act of censorship because the works mentioned the then-imprisoned feminist punk group Pussy Riot and religion.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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