part 4 notatki z domu/home marginalia: fot. Natalia Fiedorczuk-Cieślak

curator and fashion designer. She lives in Ulan Ude, Buryatia with her 10 months old son. She is a curatorial fellow at Zarya Centre For Contemporary Art in Vladivostok. In 2015 she attended curatorial program at Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts. She works with fashion design since 2016. As a cultural activist from the region she takes part in many local initiatives that are aiming to collect and revive the unique Siberian spiritual culture, art and customs.

N.Abzaeva, still from Into Belief film: spirituality and nature in south Syberia

What was the last project you were working on that got disturbed by the Coronavirus

Luckily, the coronavirus alert situation caught me in between the projects. Last one I did was in the Fall, before the epidemia. It was an exhibition for the project “Chronicles of Endangered Villages” that I curated. At that time I was also participating in the curatorial program at Zarya Centre For Contemporary Art. My next projects are planned not earlier than September 2020. I hope that by this time the epidemia will decline. It will be an international symposium of wooden sculpture created by Zandan Dugarov, Buryatian sculptor. It will be held thanks to the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Buryatia and the Ethnographic Museum of Buryatia. During a week of symposium, artists will create sculptures and installations that will become a part of the new exhibition at the Ethnographic Museum, that is one of the Russian largest open-air museums (37 ha). In the light of recent events, the concept of ecological awareness, environmental sustainability and being in harmony with the surroundings acquire special importance.

How are you managing your work now?

For now I am preoccupied to keep my son and my family safe, last week I was sewing the protective masks with the others citizens, as they are really hard to get in Ulan Ude. Regarding my curatorial work: it depends whether these projects will take place and in what format. As for the fashion projects – due to the situation with the virus, I will not be able to attend personally a master class in Moscow in April. As it was very important to me I got the permission from the professors to attend it online.
I really hope that the pandemic will decline, there will be no new outbreaks, if we all commit to that a little and stay at home.

What do you hope the situation to be „when it is over”? Concerning world in general or just the art world

Everything shown in the news breaks my heart. The situation is absolutely surreal: watching so many countries, cities, people get sick, as in literal meaning of getting infected but also in a more metaphorical way: the system breaks down. It gets even more odd while we also can see that nature is recovering, regaining its power: the waters of Venice have become cleaner and the air quality in China has improved.
We can now see the consequence of our lifestyle and what happens if we suddenly stop our usual rhythm of life. We also see how the Internet and online technologies are increasingly entering our lives, changing our perspectives, ideas about education, travel, culture accessibility and much more. So many changes are already happening … It seems to me that when the epidemia is over, people will conceptualize most important phenomena and the world will no longer be the same. But what it will be – it depends on us now

Is there any read, movie or an artwork that you’d like to share that seem important for you now

It is important to remind myself about the amazing stories of a human potential, the fact that despite all odds, an individual is always capable of doing something incredible. For me this is the book by Jawaharlal Nehru The Discovery of India. He wrote his great work during the years of imprisonment in 1942–1946, before India got independent. The book was written during four years of solitude, which gives us now an extra layer of meaning, and is telling a story of his beloved motherland from the ancient history up to his days.

I also always recharge from the books of the Dalai Lama – so much kindness and wisdom in there.