Feminist Solidarities
An exhibition in support of Yulia Tsvetkova
In August 2020, the Kulturfabrik Moabit in Berlin hosted an exhibition in solidarity with Yulia Tsvetkova. The exhibition was visited by about 300 people. Here you can find some of the exhibition materials in an online format.
Who is Yulia Tsvetkova?
Yulia Tsvetkova is a theater director, intersectional artist and feminist, lgbtiq+ activist from Komsomolsk-on-Amur (Russia). She is a political prisoner of Kremlin. Since the 5th of February 2019, Yulia has been persecuted by the state. The police and local law enforcement agencies have studied all of her projects and forms of educational and creative activities and are still looking for a reason to bring her to "justice". The artist is faced with 2 to 6 years in prison. Yulia's case is an attempt by the state to update laws on homophobia and misogyny, the number of which has increased greatly since 2013 and created conditions that are sometimes unbearable for life.
In December 2020, the Association of Theatre Critics named Yulia Tsvetkova "Person of the Year 2020".
In October 2020, Yulia's paintings were acquired by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
In December 2020, Yulia Tsvetkova topped the annual "Artguide" rating as one of the most influential figures in Russian art.
Yulia Tsvetkova is the second person from the Russian Federation after Anna Politkovskaya, who became the winner of the international prize "Index of Censorship" in the category "Art".
Yulia Tsvetkova in the BBC 100 Women 2020 list.
How can I support Yulia Tsvetkova?
Sign the petition.

Write an appeal to the Presidential Administration:
1. Click on the link
2. Select "Write a letter" (“Написать письмо”) at the bottom.
3. Indicate that we are sending it to the "Administration of the President of the Russian Federation" (“Администрация Президента Российской Федерации”).
4. Specify your full name and email address.
5. In the text input field, write: "I appeal to you with a request to close the criminal case against the director and artist Yulia Tsvetkova due to the lack of evidence of a crime." ("Обращаюсь к Вам с просьбой закрыть уголовное дело в отношении режиссера и художницы Юлии Цветковой в связи с отсутствием состава преступления.").
6. Attach this file to the appeal and click on the "Send a letter" (“Отправить письмо”) button.

Donate via Yandex Money or PayPal.
Articles about the Merak Theater and Yulia's case:
Кира Шмырёва, Анна Ходырева. “Юлия Цветкова: театральные критики назвали ее Человеком года, а в Комсомольске-на-Амуре ее по-прежнему преследуют”. Театр, 21.12.2020.

Открытые письма детей — актеров театра Юлии Цветковой «Мерак» и их родителей. Colta, 27.01.2021.

Кира Шмырёва. Манифест молодёжного театра будущего. Сигма, 04.02.2021.

Марина Аронова. “‘Мое детство закончилось раньше, чем хотелось бы’. Как в Хабаровском крае уничтожали детский театр ‘Мерак’”. Сибирь. Реалии, 26.01.2021.

Madeline Roache. “Russian Activists Just Won an Important Battle Over LGBTQ Rights. But the War Is Far From Over”. Time, 02.12.2020.

Josh Nadeau. Drawings of Vaginas Could Land an Artist With a Six-Year Jail Sentence". Vice, 25.02.2021.

"Not ready to live among cowardice and meanness." Yulia Tsvetkova's hunger strike and letters of solidarity. Nikolay Oleinikov, Zanovo, 24.05.2021

"Movement of the case": about the personal exhibition of Yulia Tsvetkova. Max Evstropov, Krapiva, 24.05.2021

“Our theater of the future: the editor of Junge Bühne Sophie talks to Kira and Sofia fro Russia about the theater in their homeland. 30.04.2021

Preliminary Court Report Russian Federation v Yulia Tsvetkova, Human Rights Embassy, May 2021

Kira Shmyreva. Statements of cultural figures in support of Yulia Tsvetkova. syg.ma, 05.05.2021

Kira Shmyreva. Theater heute: Body Think Tank. Часть 1. syg.ma, 02.04.2021
Kira Shmyreva. Theater heute: Body Think Tank. Часть 2. syg.ma, 03.04.2021

Kira Shmyreva. The case of Yulia Tsvetkova: reconciliation with oneself. RTV, 04.2021 (Also available in PL)

Kira Shmyreva. Theater in a vacuum. Yulia Tsvetkova’s aesthetics of soft resistance and the possibilities of activist art in Russia. Theater Heute, April 2021
Curator Kira Shmyreva about the exhibition in Berlin
The story of Yulia Tsvetkova is the story and the stories of feminist solidarities and care practices in (art)-actionism, -activism and feminist writing, that don’t fit into the frames of the state policy of “traditional values”. These practices are the present and the future of Russia, in which many people already live and on which many already work. But in Russia these activities can result in fines, arrests, tortures, and marginalization.

A contemporary poet Galina Rymbu writes in her poem “You are the future”:

“And our house
is the country, unconnected to anything,
an anarchist commune,
where the cats are equal to us
and sleep on the table”.

Yulia Tsvetkova grew up in precisely such a “country”. Anna Khodyreva (Yulia’s mother) tells about Yulia’s childhood in “the tumultuous 1990s”: together with a group of other women they built a creative commune where practically nothing had existed before. A commune, where children could get knowledge about the world through alternative means of art and theatre.

Yulia was an “uncomfortable” child for the state: her physicality was “improper and undeserving” of life in the family. It is the first patriarchal myth that Anna Khodyreva debunks. Fighting the pressure of totalitarian medical institutions, she takes upon herself what the society generally entrusted to the state - the choice of educational methods and child development. We enter the fluid world where everything is transformed and created by a child and for a child: house, things, clothes. This fluidity is also found in the relationships between the mother and the daughter, in their readiness to accept and let go of their own expectations.

A small-town girl Yulia Tsvetkova grows up, becomes a feminist and creates corresponding organizations: a theatre, the group “Komsomolka. The feminism of intersections”, and the project “Vagina Monologues”.

Through the activist youth theatre “Merak” Yulia and the group of children and teenagers from Komsomolsk-on-Amur attempt to demonstrate how theatre can transform reality. Children and teenagers demythologize the topics of gender stereotypes, patriarchal culture of violence and bullying, which the state tries to present as values. In accordance with the principles of forum theatre, where critique is followed by the offer to solve a problem, in the process of rehearsals and plays Yulia as a director and children as co-authors are coming up with solutions. Local police view these actions as gay propaganda. They torment children and put pressure on Yulia and her mother to close the theatre.

The reading of “The Vagina Monologues” by E. Ensler and her own experience of abusive relationships result in Yulia creating a group about the physicality of a woman and about her right to explore her sexuality and physiology and to create corresponding narratives. Those are the main topics of the poetry of Galina Rymbu (Ukraine, Lviv) and Deenara Rasuleva (Germany, Berlin), who write poetic responses to the case of Yulia Tsvetkova (“My Vagina” and “Russia eats”). Yulia is faced with six years in prison for the “delicate drawings of vaginas”. Sex education and empowerment are misrepresented as pornography.

Feminism is the impossibility to live in your own “small feminist world”, says Yulia Tsvetkova frequently. Activists from the different Russian regions go out to the streets in single-person protests #forYulia knowing that they can be detained and fined. Detained art-activists continue to conduct solidarity actions. This is how poet Daria Serenko desribes it: “I view my detention as illegal, but I accept my civic fate”. Solidarity chains exceed the borders of the Khabarovsk region and the Russian Federation.

Already in October of 2019, Yulia wrote: “The most difficult question for me lately is ‘Did they leave you alone?'”. And the second most difficult - ‘What do they want?’ The problem is, I don’t have an answer to any of these questions. Together with the poet and feminist activist Deenara Rasuleva we also pose this question:

“Russia, Russia, how can you
arrest and kill your daughters
For their words, for songs, for activism,
For their eyes, for being born a woman,
how can you
torture your children in cellars, oh, Russia, Russia? ”

‌Curator of the exhibition: Kira Shmyreva. The concept was created together with Yulia's mother, Anna Khodyreva.

Preparation of the exhibition: Anna Yudina, Anna Krivtsova, Anna Laletina, Katya Romanova, Vica Kravtsova, Alexandra Neuman, Sofia Ocherednaya, Daria Kolesova, Anna Markevich, Sophia Komova, Elina Evstigneeva, Sarah‌ ‌Claire‌ ‌Wray,‌ ‌Evgenia Damme, David Verdzadze, Anaita Azizi, Margarita Malina, Anna Zaglyadnova,‌ ‌Julika‌ ‌Lingel,‌ ‌Nastya Chasovskikh, Valeria Kotova, Taya Malezhik, Olya Senkova, Daria Golovko, Nikolay Tatarko,‌ Sergey Shabokhin, Sergey Medvedev‌, Marina Fischer, Daniel, Peter, Samuela Nickel.

The exhibition presents works by artists, poets and activists: Yulia Tsvetkova, Anna Khodyreva, Yana Smetanina, Deenara Rasuleva, Daria Apakhonchich, “Urodiny”, Daria Serenko, Galina Rymbu, Friedrich Chernyshev, Sofia Savina, Anastasia Rezyuk, Anna Markevich, Alisa Gorshenina, Sophia Komova, Asya Rebyata, Evgenia Strakhova, Darya @hideousdanon, Victor Revers, Sonya @soniabubble, Anna Yudina, Daria Kolesova, Katya Refenstahl, “Schvemy”, Paola de Ramos, Jeanna Kolesova, Polina Welscher, Elina Evstigneeva, Alla Gorbunova, Lisa Neklessa, Anna Rus, Inna Krasnoper.

Artists, poets and DJs who had live acts at the opening:‌ ‌Janina Akh,‌ ‌Deenara Rasuleva,‌ ‌Daria Kolesova,‌ ‌Elvina Valieva,‌ Daria Ma,‌ Yulia Vilianen,‌ ‌dj‌ ‌Yulav,‌ ‌dj‌ ‌Hotbitch.

The team of ‌Kulturfabrik‌ ‌Moabit,‌ ‌Slaughterhouse,‌ ‌Filmrauschpalast‌ ‌and‌ ‌Kufa‌ ‌Café: ‌Thomas,‌ ‌Sophia,‌ ‌Robin,‌ ‌Peter,‌ ‌Tina,‌ ‌Jonas,‌ ‌Mirko.

The owners of objects used in the exhibition:‌ Magdalena, Valeria, Inna.