White Flowers
Video performance, colour, sound, 14 min 24s | Performers : Volha Laiter, Anna Morochnik, Nataliya Tchamrova, Vera Tziuzhankina | Cameraman : Tayeb Hadji | Composer : Jonathan Goulet | Project coordinator : Anna Morochnik | Thanks : Mael Houyau, Emilien Janelle, Nadia Romanova, Émile Studnicki-Gizbert | Galerie de l'UQÀM | Montreal | 2021

With its narrative built on a constant to-and-fro between gentleness and violence, White Flowers offers a reflection on the recent struggle in Belarus. In 2020, the election of Alexander Lukashenko, the president in power for twenty-six years, led to an uprising of the people; peaceful protests were met with unimaginable police brutality.

From the beginning, the uprising in Belarus, a very patriarchal country, had a female face. When the three main opposition candidates were persecuted and imprisoned in the run-up to the presidential election, it was their wives and their election team coordinator who took the lead in the resistance. In response to the riotous brutality of the demonstrations, initially directed at men, women often stood in front of and beat off the arms of police officers as they were dragged into cell vans. The weekly women's demonstrations gathered thousands of people and in turn experienced police violence and arrests. Dressed in white and holding hands, Belarusian women held solidarity chains across the country.

The White Flowers project was created while the Belarusian people's struggle was in its midst, during the winter of 2020/2021. Initially conceived as a video installation and performance, this project had to be adapted for the pandemic context, taking the video form for dissemination as part of a digital exhibition, at the Galerie de l'UQÀM in 2021.

White flowers deals with fragility, courage, and violence. This project evokes the daily contemplation of the suffering of others, whose testimonies filmed with a cell phone held in a trembling hand and scrolling on social networks, are far from being aestheticized. Finally, the work translates into images the feeling and awareness of the female body, which chooses to stand, opposing its vulnerability and strength to a fierce repression.