"I want to contribute to the construction of a new Belarus"

On November 24, the exhibition "The Sun Shines Strangely Today" by the Belarusian artist

Anastasia Rydlevska

was opened in the Museum of Free Belarus in Warsaw .

The works exhibited in the museum were created during a year of living in exile, in Gdańsk, the author says.

"I chose this particular museum because I want to contribute to building a new Belarus and destigmatizing the topic of mental health.

The exhibition is called "Today the sun shines strangely again", because it refers exactly to my diary entries, memories of the first attack of a depressive episode that I remember.

The exhibition about mental problems and other things is based on my personal experience," says Anastasia Ridlevskaya.

At the opening of the exhibition there was a great interest of visitors and deepening of creativity.

"Many people came up and thanked me for the works, because they resonated with them, they helped me a lot to reflect on my own problems, to find a connection with other people, to understand, to feel that you are not alone in all this," says the artist.

- At the opening, they showed a documentary film by Maksim Buynitsky, which he shot about me and my husband, about our life in exile, about everything that accompanies it from my personal point of view - in terms of mental disorders."

Anastasia Ridlevskaya

Anastasia says that she was impressed how such a complex topic, which is quite stigmatized in society, found a response.

"Art for me is an absolutely natural and integral part of my life.

You can't not drink water, can you?

You will always drink and eat, so I will always paint, - says Anastasia.

- The space does not affect what I do, but the images themselves became more complex, they began to absorb the whole reality, which became more frightening and painful to live in it.

You constantly see the suffering of other people who are very close to you, and you can't stop it, so you feel a much larger spectrum of feelings, and all this affects creativity."

"Being in the system of repression, I honestly and sincerely showed everything that I feel"

Anastasia and her husband had to move from Belarus to Gdańsk last year.

The woman says that because of the repression, she could no longer wait for them to come for her.

"All my works are a reflection of communication with the world in which I live, an attempt to reflect it and find a connection with other people who feel the same.

Of course, being in the system of repression, I honestly and sincerely showed everything that I feel, - the artist admits.

"I didn't censor myself, and everything that poured out came out naturally, so at all exhibitions people clearly understood and felt everything."

While Anastasia was in Belarus, she wanted to publish a book about the experience of repression.

But the publishing house, in which it was to be printed, closed down.

"This book contains my diary entries and illustrations that I drew over the course of a year, in the situation we all find ourselves in after 2020.

They revealed this traumatic experience of an individual, - explains Anastasia.

- I wanted to make a visual book that speaks to you in the language of feelings that we all experienced, so that there is a feeling of unity, that you are not alone.

I wanted to show that we are all together, to express emotional solidarity."

Anastasia Ridlevskaya

Now Anastasia is very much hoping to get financing for the book in order to release it in a transformed format.

"It will be in Belarusian, the text and visuals are important there.

It will be about the trauma of 2021-22, about the terrible repression and everything that is happening.

Everything will be in a poetic form: white poems and my visuals interact with each other on an emotional level.

So that a person, while reading, could reflect on the trauma and to a certain extent feel the ease of release from this pain.

It will turn out that you have already seen this pain in the face and you can distance yourself a little from it," the artist thinks.

"When you share something so intimate, talking about it at the top of your lungs, it takes a lot of strength"

Anastasia's works can also be seen on the clothes of the Belarusian brand KHOLOD.

"The wonderful Ina, the creator of the brand, wrote to me that she liked my work.

She asked me how I feel about the idea of ​​having my paintings appear on clothes.

At that moment, I thought about it a lot, but it was impossible for me personally, because it requires a lot of financial expenses.

And with Ina, we got a perfect union, - says the artist.

- Ina is just an amazing person, I really like her approach to clothing: she thinks so ethically and maximally about what a person will wear, how he will be comfortable, what quality things are.

It is very important for me."

Currently, Anastasia is engaged in several projects in a musical and visual format on the topic of guilt, non-binary and the gender spectrum.

"The exhibition took so much strength, it was such a busy productive period, so many works were created literally over the summer, that now I am on forced vacation," admits Anastasia.

- When you share such intimate, secret, things that are strongly stigmatized in our society, you talk about it with all your might so that other people understand that it should not be stigmatized and everything is fine with us, it takes a lot of strength.

Most likely, it will be necessary to change the type of art for a short time, to recharge for the visual.

It will be in music, maybe in animation."

Anastasia Ridlevskaya

Anastasia also says that she is developing an online educational course for artists, which should be released soon.

A meeting with the artist is scheduled for December 12 at the Museum of Free Belarus in Warsaw.

She promises to tell a lot of interesting and useful things.

"I will talk about my path in art, in creativity, how I managed to organize the first exhibitions, how artists in general live and do not die of hunger," says Anastasia.

- I will share all kinds of things that can help if you are a person of a creative profession

and just at the very beginning of his journey, how to avoid pitfalls.

I will also conduct a small tour of the exhibition, tell more about my works."