Candylands monter på Supermarket 2023 – Stockholm Independent Art Fair
Öppet torsdag–lördag 12–20, söndag 12–18
Herbarium of Female Protest
The project includes portraits of female participants in peaceful actions that spontaneously evolved in August 2020 as a reaction to the rigged presidential election and the manifestation of unprecedented violence by the Belarusian authorities.
There were white clothes and flowers symbolically indicating the womens’ position – they had no weapons and were longing only for peace and justice. It was a time full of hope for quick changes for the better.
Less than a year later, the authorities launched a large-scale methodical repression of dissent. Thousands of criminal cases were started, almost all the independent media and NGOs were closed down, and the opponents of the self-proclaimed president were forced to flee the country. The symbols of the protests (the white-red-white flag and the historical Belarusian coat of arms) were recognised
as extremist, and people risked their freedom for the photos taken during the marches and then posted on social networks and in the media – using AI facial recognition technology, the police meticulously tracked down the participants.
Classic photojournalism became a crime in Belarus, and journalists like Eva Yarrow had to look for new visual methods to show the events unfolding in
her country. She turned the bedroom into a photography studio and started shooting “mugshots” of her project participants. After printing the images, she suggested to the women to use dried flowers as an addition to their portraits: they could choose both the type of plant and the degree to which they would like to leave their faces visible and thus recognisable – depending on how much they feared possible arrest for expressing their civil rights at the time of the meeting. Thus, transformation became one of the key ideas of the project: during several months of peaceful confrontation, not only the seasons and types of flowers the protesters were holding changed, but also the protesters themselves. Some were imprisoned, others had to flee the country or rethink the very concepts of fear and safety.
Tack till Förstoringsateljén. Candylands utställningsprogram stöds av Statens Kulturråd och Stockholms stad.