• Stolen days

    ongoing project
    2014 — ...

  • Project "Stolen days" aims to show what people missed during politically motivated arrests in Belarus. It focuses on the representatives of various political and social movements: nationalists, anarchists, environmentalists, social activists. All these people were united by the fact that Lukashenko’s regime viewed each of them as dangerous; forces to be suppressed.

    Everyday life, close people and friends, plans, small daily things, joys and sorrows at once remained in the world outside and in their memories. Their reality was reduced to a prison cell filled in with tobacco smoke, to a broken toilet, a dirty mattress and an aluminum cup of tea, to long awaited letters and the release day.

    This is a preview of project.

  • Exposition view #1

    Solo site-specific exhibition in prison cell of former KGB prison.

    Venue: Museum of genocide victims, Vilnius, Lithuania.

    Dates: 01.12.2016 - 12.03.2017

  • Exposition view #2

    Solo site-specific exhibition in prison cell of former KGB prison.

    Venue: Museum of genocide victims, Vilnius, Lithuania.

    Dates: 01.12.2016 - 12.03.2017

  • Exposition view #3

    Group exhibition "Talks about politics. Critical art in Belarus in 10-x"

    Venue: DK "Delai Sam", Moscow, Russia

    Dates: 14.10.2016 - 30.10.2016

  • Denis Karnov, 30, former political activist.

    # 20 days in jail

    Denis is working in the building industry, in the past was an active political activist. During the arrest Denis was going to finish a big tattoo on his chest. He managed to do it only four months later.

    On photo: Denis Karnou after tattooing. September 23th, 2014, Soligorsk, Belarus.

  • Sergey Matskoyts, 42 years old, an activist of "European Belarus" party.

    # 20 days in jail

    Sergey works in a garage cooperative, combining this work with a part-time job at "Belarusfilm" production studio. The trial over Sergei was held behind closed doors (without a lawyer), and took about 5 minutes. For the first 3 days he slept without a mattress and a pillow. It was very cold in his cell - people filled in bottles with hot water in order to keep warm. During his imprisonment Sergey was taken out for a walk only twice.

    "There are no laws in Belarus, there is no order. Anything can happen – at any time you may be detained or beaten. Such actions have become a norm. Nobody is protected."

    On photo: Sergey Matskoyts mows grass at the garage cooperative, where he works. July, 8th, 2014, Minsk, Belarus.

  • Alexander, 25 years old, a street football player.

    # 20 days in jail

    Alexander was detained with his girlfriend Nastya Kuchta in the city center. The police had tracked their location by mobile phone signals. Alex missed three games in the championship among teams which adhere to anti-racist views.

    "I spent the first night at the police department in an empty cell sized 4x4 meters soaked in urine. I remember black mattresses in jail. Close to the end of the detention period we were given bread with mold. When I was released, the first thing I did was to shave off my mustache and go for a walk around the city."

    On photo: Alexander together with his friends has a rest during the break in a mini-football match. July, 9th, 2014, Minsk, Belarus.

  • Nikolai Demidenko, 25, an activist of "Malady Front" political opposition party.

    # 20 days in jail

    Nikolai was an active member of "Malady Front" political party two years ago. He is a practicing believer. During his imprisonment he missed a few church services.

    "One of the most important things I missed was a church service, every weekend we attend church together with my family. Six months before these events we had already bought the tickets for the whole family to travel to France. But my wife Alesia accidentally washed my passport. I remember seeing my wife off at the airport, returning home and being detained."

    On photo: Nikolai Demidenko (on the left) at a church service in a Greek Catholic Church. June, 21st, 2014, Minsk, Belarus.

  • Vadim Zharomskyi, 26 years old, social activist.

    # 20 days in jail

    Vadim and his friend were arrested by special forces at home. He was charged for painting an illegal graffiti under Article 339.2 "Malicious hooliganism" (imprisonment for up to 6 years), but thanks to the public outcry the court dismissed the charge. After the detention he lost his job because his employers feared pressure from the authorities. He also missed the concert of his favorite band “Dzieciuki”.

    We were lying on the floor, handcuffed. From time to time stun guns were used against us - on the back and legs - as a way to get our testimony. During my stay in prison pressure was exerted on my parents, too - our house was searched. My mother had a recent surgery, due to which she was recognized disabled. And it was one of our cracks they had been trying to tap to break me. I tried to keep calm. It was important not to show fear.
    I subconsciously keep in mind that I am eavesdropped and surveilled. On the eve of the presidential election in 2015, every day I used to notice a few people who were watching us. But I do not want to leave the country. Otherwise it would be their victory - they want to make all the active people leave Belarus.

    On photo: Vadim in the club backyard during a concert of his favorite band “Dzieciuki”. October 25, 2015, Minsk, Belarus.

  • Aleksandr Kurets, 27 years old, a volunteer of the initiative "Food Not Bombs".

    # 15 days in jail

    Aleksandr is fond of weightlifting. He cooks and shares food with the homeless. During his imprisonment he missed 7 training sessions.

    "Unfortunately, I believe that in the next 10-15 years there would be no perspectives. Nothing would start to change as long as people continue to wait for "a good uncle". In order to change, we need to learn to take responsibility, to work, to have a conscious approach to what we do. And to start with, it is enough to give up ostrich attitude".

    On photo: Aleksandr Kurets at his weightlifting training. June, 12th, 2014, Minsk, Belarus.

  • Leonid Smovzh, 54, a social activist.

    # 20 days in jail

    Leonid worked as a rail car machinist. After several detentions made during opposition protests he was forced to quit a job. Because of the arrest he had to suspend a construction of the house for his family.

    At the elections in 1994 Leonid voted for Lukashenko. He started taking part in protests in 2013. He explains his decision by the discontent with his mother’s low pension ($ 18), who had spent all her life working at kolkhoz.

    On photo: Leonid Smovzh, in the garage of his house under construction. August, 17th, 2014, Minsk, Belarus.

  • Dmitry Dashkevich, 33 years old, the leader of "Malady Front" political opposition party.

    # 25 days in jail

    Dmitry is a former political prisoner and he spent 2.5 years in prison after the events of December, 19th, 2010. He was planning to stay at home with his family, partially due to the fact that he was under preventive supervision of the police and after 8pm he was not allowed to be outdoors.

    "Only God knows when and how changes will come to Belarus. But they will come, they surely would. To bring these changes, each of us has to be an example for people who want them. Since in the past 20 years not a single person is left in Belarus who needs to be proved who Lukashenko is. For example, I cannot remember persuading anyone against the political regime of this country for the last 5 years – neither in prison among other prisoners, nor at police departments among policemen."

    On photo: Dmitry Dashkevich with his daughter Mara at home. July, 23rd, 2014, Minsk, Belarus.

  • Andrei Tkachov, 27 years old, a fitness-trainer.

    # 15 days in jail

    Andrei works as a fitness-trainer. During his imprisonment he missed a few games of the NBA Championship. His friends brought into his cell the printouts of the matches.

    "Prison lacks basic things, for example one would wish to get some fresh air or take a shower. I was also not happy with the meals. They were arranged in such a manner that the last meal of the day was at 6 pm, and you had to spend the rest of the day hungry. Also there are some problems with the food calories, being there I actually lost 9 kilos."

    On photo: Andrei Tkachov (in the center) watches a NBA match (the National Basketball Association) with his friends in a sports club. June, 13th, 2014, Minsk, Belarus.

  • Valera, 18 years old, a social activist.

    # 20 days in jail

    Valera is a BSUIR student. He missed 3 weeks of studies.

    "I think that the current political authority fits people's needs. And I do not believe that the transformation of the current authoritarian regime to a more democratic one will bring any changes. Changes must be initiated by the people, not from the state."

    On photo: Valera at his home during his preparing for the exams. June, 10th, 2014, Minsk, Belarus.