Boundaries of the Other
Globalization hastened the information transmission speed, improved transport communications and increased people mobility like never before. According to the UN, there are 244 million migrants in the world today. They could have very different reasons to move: personal, hard economic situation, human rights or environmental issues. War is a common reason too. Some regions turned into the permanent war zones.
EU refugee crisis is сaused mostly by the Syrian civil war, but other migrants from Asia and Africa should be mentioned here too. Along the borders of united Europe the fences are rising up. The opinion that this situation was provoked by the western colonial policy is widely popular, but regardless the causes millions of people have to look for asylum in those places where they are not always welcome. Supporters of so-called ISIL and other radical fundamentalists along with the fighting in the war run multiple terror attacks in other regions, particularly in EU and US. Beside the flow of refugees such situation creates fear, feeds nationalism and makes right wing parties more popular.
Middle East crisis had no direct impact on Belarus. This topic sounds here like from far away and goes along with the foreign news. At the same time annexation of the Crimea by Russia and its aggression into Ukraine caught the citizens’ attention. Beside the choice of geopolitical orientation Belarusians met the big wave of immigrants, refugees from Donetsk region. For the first time since getting Independence. This war naturally provoked the level of alertness towards the Moscow’s usual declarations of peace and brotherhood and forced the government to take some measures.
The basis of this exhibition is the idea of Belarusian tolerance which undergoes verification these days. Founded on a historical multiculturalism and backed by centuries of peaceful coexisting with different diaspora, does this idea still work? During the last 5 years immigration numbers increased and got over 65 000 people, but there is a question if we have truly open society free of hatred and xenophobia, the society that respects equality and the rights of everyone regardless of nationality, religion or gender? Or maybe we deal with a culture stereotype that couldn’t be checked for a long time because of lack of The Other?
During creating this exhibition we tried to work with the local issues, to discuss the most actual of them and compare with those that can be found in a common European or global context. It is important to mention that no one of participants of the group have never had any refugee experience. All these works are based on the analysis of daily media content, documents, stats and also on private stories.
This exhibition is the first project of “Vera” group which was formed in June 2016 and brings together artists and cultural workers Vera Zalutskaya, Aleksey Naumchik, Anton Sarokin, Aliaxey Talstou.
Executive curator Aliaxey Talstou