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Skochilenko: The Price of Freedom

In April 2023 I co-curated and managed a very special exhibition

and a series of events in London, UK. It was an immensely important project for me both as fellow artist and as a person.

Sasha Skochilenko, a Russian artist, has been detained in a prison

for distributing anti-war information in a supermarket in St. Petersburg, Russia. She was arrested for replacing the price tags on the goods in the store with fake ones that contained information about the war crimes committed by the Russian Army in Ukraine. Sasha is currently awaiting trial and faces up to 10 years in jail.

However, despite being incarcerated, Sasha has continued to create art almost daily while in detention. Her partner Sonya has provided detailed scans of her artworks to a group of activists from the Russian Democratic Society. I volunteered to act as a project manager and a co-curator,

and together with Varvara and Dmitrii Moskovsky we managed to exhibit Sasha’s artwork in London.


All of the artworks on display were created by Sasha after her arrest

and transfer to the Arsenalka detention centre. The exhibition also included works created using thread and old fabric, embroidery on reused materials, and upcycled materials, reflecting Sasha’s core value of caring

for the environment and all living beings.

The Koppel Project has generously offered to host the exhibition in one

of their locations, a former police station with many of its grim interiors still intact. We used this location to convey their message loud and clear: freedom of speech cannot be silenced, incarcerated, or held hostage. By exhibiting Sasha’s artwork in the former solitary cells of the Hampstead police station, we hoped to raise awareness of the atrocities committed by the Russian government against its citizens and to support Sasha and other activists who are fighting against the regime despite the potential tragic consequences.


Each of the co-curators added their own perceptions to the installation

to emphasise the importance of maintaining and strengthening connections and encouraging dialogue between artists despite physical and legal barriers.


To amplify the message further, I have organised educational workshops, lectures, film screenings, and discussions related to Sasha’s core values

of LGBTQ+ rights, anti-war activism, feminism, and mental health.

All profits from the sale of merchandise, and donations were used to pay

for Sasha’s medical needs and legal expenses. We managed to gather £2500 in total, which was a massive financial support for Sasha.

Curators: Anna Shilonosova, Dmitrii Moskovsky, Varvara

Project manager: Anna Shilonosova

Space: The Koppel Project Station

Textile immersive elements: Dmitrii Moskovsky

Context Room: Varvara + FAR (Feminist Antiwar Resistance) Oxford

Space curation, event management, "What Can I Do?"+"Dandelion" art objects: Anna Shilonosova

Merch design: Anna Shilonosova + Dmitrii Moskovsky+Usva Inei

Poster design: Katerina Vysokovskaya, Russian Democratic Society activist

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