Varvara Sudnik
Varvara Sudnik is an artist from Belarus, mainly working with text and embroidery formats. Her artistic practice draws upon her experiences outside the art establishment and institutions. She does not separate her art from politics, addressing issues of exclusion, visibility, gender, labour, and trauma through her work. Varvara creates works with the optics of decolonisation of knowledge, questioning the established "canons" and "standards" of culture, art, and language.
The main focus of my artwork is schools and the education system in Belarus. I'm considering schools and the system of school education in Belarus as an architectural object representing the system of knowledge itself, which has been established here. This is a question of the significant imprint of colonial dependency where the knowledge has been presented as something universal, not a subject of debate. Since the Soviet Union era, only formal changes have occurred in Belarus, in my view. Belarus has not undergone any educational reform that would have defined it as an independent country with its own history and culture.
Growing up, both my parents and I attended the same school in our town. The repainting of the school from that period serves as a metaphor for the minimal changes that have occurred there.
Consciously working within the context in which she finds herself, Varvara pays attention to the intersection of the Belarusian experience outside of it. There's an increasing tendency in her choice of "clean" formats, somewhat preventing her hands and clothes from getting dirty. This preference determines her small spaces for everything at once, where she cannot easily get dirty. Varvara loves the tactility of fabric in embroidery, relishing the feeling of crumpling and the closeness it provides.