Dear PostSovietGraffiti Family,
It’s May Day again, which means that today is our one-year birthday. Can you believe it? This year went by so quickly. Together, we have grown this community from one that consisted of only our parents to a support base of 112 subscribers and 10,000 unique visitors… and we are growing every day!
One short year ago, PostSovietGraffiti started with a few photos about the bible-nostalgic graffiti written in Osh, Kyrgyzstan during the ethnic conflict of 2010, the haunting art in Pripyat and the Chernobyl radiation zone, and one inspirational TedTalk by French street artist JR.
Then we reported from Moscow about its guerrilla advertisement bombing problem and from Minsk on its failed July 3rd Clapping Revolution (after we waited outside of the Belarusian embassy for a few hours, watching a strange police crackdown). We wrote about a yarn-bombed alley in Riga and the infamous Tsoi Wall in downtown Moscow.
We visited friends and family members in Budapest where we learned more about Hungary’s current political situation, the fall of Budapest’s artistic and creative centre Tűzraktér, and the satirical responses of the Two Tailed Dog Party.
Through a more theoretical lens, we analyzed the state-sponsored legal festival, the contradictory relationship between aesthetics and politics, and the revivalist movement for contemporary artists to recycle de-industrial, urban ruins around the world by moving in and setting up shop.
In early December 2011, following allegedly fraudulent Parliamentary Elections, the Russian citizenry gained a newfound inspiration to demonstrate en masse. Understanding that the street narrative shifted significantly between summer 2011 and winter 2012, we returned to Moscow in March to observe those changes. We stood alongside the opposition at Pushkinskaia Square meetings and, outside the Kremlin gates saw the Putin-Medvedev duo with our own eyes. We met the originators of Russia’s graffiti counter-culture and learned about the movement’s progression since the fall of the Soviet Union.
We feel fortunate to have shared our experiences and photographs with friends and colleagues around the world, from Foreign Policy Magazine in Washington D.C. (twice!), to a Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty photo essay, a Georgetown University photo exhibit, and a feature in Budapest’s Moha Magazine (in Hungarian).
We interviewed with Canadian international affairs magazine “The Hidden Transcript” (an earlier interview/ photo-essay is available on YouTube) and we sat down with Pavel Butorin in Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty’s Prague Central Newsroom for the “Blender Podcast.” In the academia realm, I presented at the 2011 Central Slavic Conference in Saint Louis, Missouri and the Georgetown University Capstone Event in Washington, D.C. last week. Plus I finished writing that Master’s thesis.
And we are not slowing down either. In year 2 we will fully rebuild the website to make it even more user-friendly, including the addition of an online store where visitors can purchase high-quality and one-of-a-kind prints. We have a mile-long backup of interesting material just waiting to be posted. We have to prepare to present at the ASEEES National Convention in New Orleans this fall. And, as always, we have those scores of grant applications to fill out.
Thank you a million times for supporting the team at PostSovietGraffiti.com. Please tell your friends and keep coming back for more. We promise not to disappoint.
Lekszi and Kolya