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Artistic anti-war resistance in Russia: Thinking Art as Action after the 24th of February 2022

Marina Leo Shamov / Photo by Linda Bournane Engelberth
Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 5:40 pm – 7:20 pm

This lecture concerns artistic anti-war actions that emerged as a response to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. After a discussion of selected actions, Marina Leo will introduce the peaceful protest format of the anti-war dance picket they devised and executed in early 2022 in St. Petersburg. Drawing on picketing as a form of protest as well as the ongoing anti-war resistance movement including the railroad partisans and queer*feminist initiatives that have reinvented their artistic practices as strategies of resistance, Marina Leo will invite an investigation of the generative value of challenging the assumed binaries of artistic practices and political action, individual and the collective, mind and the body, and im/possibilities of solidarity in times of war.   

Attention will also be paid to the simultaneous political repression unfolding in Russia and the persecution of anti-war activists as one of the many tactics of the Putin regime in service of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Marina Leo Shamov is a trans non-binary person and interdisciplinary artist, lyrics writer, dance artist, queer-rap performer, teacher of performance practices, and LGBTQ2 activist. They received their bachelor’s degree in choreography and dance pedagogy at the Institute of Decorative and Applied Arts and Humanities Education and, graduated from the master's program Scientific and Creative Laboratory of Contemporary Dance at the Vaganova Academy. Marina Leo attended an independent program oriented towards political artworks at the School of Involved Art “Chto Delat?” between 2015 and 2017. During the same period, they participated in the online program Performance Artistic Research Lab PeARL.

After living in Saint-Petersburg for the last 20 years, Marina Leo left Russia after the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion in Ukraine. Currently based in Vienna, Marina Leo is affiliated with the Academy of Fine Arts and holds a position at the QueerFemDepartment of the Academy.

* Photo by Linda Bournane Engelberth