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Viktoria Lomaskos Portraits of Life

Moscow-based artist Viktoria Lomasko turns her talents on events unfolding in St. Petersburg.

Published: December 4, 2013 (Issue # 1789)

  • I wonder if there are womens lands in Russia, where only lesbians live. (A discussion of Lesbiana A Parallel Revolution.)
    Photo: Viktoria Lomasko / For SPT

  • Viktoria Lomasko documenting events at the opening of the Side by Side film festival.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

Moscow-based artist Viktoria Lomasko was in St. Petersburg to be on the jury for the Side by Side LGBT rights festival.

Best known for her graphic reports from politically-motivated trials and protest rallies, complete with snaps of conversations, she also used the time to draw a series of sketches of what was happening during the 10-day festival, which was marred by bomb threats, cancelations, changes of venues and threats by anti-gay groups.

Most of all, I am surprised that theres no reaction from the left-wing community, Lomasko told The St. Petersburg Times. Rather threatening things happen, there is a pressure on a whole group of people who feel defenseless, it can be seen, and its strange that they did not come out to support them. What do left-wing activists do in St. Petersburg then, if they dont attend such events?

According to Lomasko, left-wing groups stood up for LGBT rights in Moscow.

As soon as these homophobic laws emerged, rallies were held [in Moscow], and there were always LGBT groups at large rallies, such as the March of Millions or [demonstrations] in defense of political prisoners, she said. Many of my heterosexual friends joined these groups to support them. At most recent rallies, I walked with the LGBT group, too.

She challenged the reasoning that LGBT rights was not directly related to the left-wing cause. When they start to persecute people for their ethnicity, it wont relate to it, she said.

Feminism doesnt relate to it, either. The defense of the LGBT community also doesnt relate to it. So, what does relate to it then? To me personally, this festival and the trials of artists and political prisoners are all equal. This is the reduction of the space where we can talk and act, where we can be the people we find it comfortable to be.

Lomasko, who recently co-curated Feminist Pencil 2, an exhibition of socially-engaged art made by women in Moscow, said she did not hesitate to come even if the festival was not related to graphic art. If I was invited to some other event, not immediately related to my professional activity of drawing, I would not agree to attend for such a long period and, for instance, to watch so many films, she said.

But here I agreed as soon as I got the invitation from the LGBT film festival because I believe its the only way to be. I was sure that some people would not be able to come and that others would refuse. I have also done drawings and want to write about the events that happened here. I think it would be easier for me to do than for the LGBT activists themselves, because they remain here and theyre less protected.

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Sunday, Apr. 20

Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.

Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.

Monday, Apr. 21

Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.

Tuesday, Apr. 22

SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.

The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.