This photography project shines a spotlight on Russian artists and activists in a time of crisis

This photography project shines a spotlight on Russian artists and activists in a time of crisis

21 April 2020
Top image: Arshak Makichyan by Tania Ermilova

Punk brand Kultrab and Moscow’s Rodchenko Art School have launched a new photo project to support Russia’s biggest underground artists and activists.

The initiative, I Do What I Want, is a first-time collaboration between the Russian clothing label and community and the photography school, founded in 2006 as part of the city’s Multimedia Art Museum.

As part of the online project, students were asked to explore the identity of notable Russian creatives and dissidents before expressing it through a series of images. Amongst the public figures that took part in the project are Pussy Riot members Masha Alyokhina and Nika Nikulshina, climate activist Arshak Makichyan, and Mariyka Semenenko, co-founder of Make Culture — a Moscow-based bar and events venue that champions freedom of speech.

Each Thursday, the portraits of one of the activists will be released onto the platform. The following Tuesday, that person will host a live broadcast on Kultrab’s Instagram page, giving viewers the chance to discuss projects and the current state of uncertainty.

Image: Lorina Rey by Polina Voskresenskaya

“We wanted to start a project about people and ideas — the people who express themselves through culture to construct a new society built on acceptance, support, and respect for their freedom, and the freedom of others,” says Alina Muzychenko, Kultrab’s co-founder.

This week’s protagonist is drag queen Lorina Rey, who will host a livestream on Kultrab’s Instagram page on Tuesday 21 April at 6pm GMT.

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