Nadya Tolokonnikova – Putin’s Ashes II
Dimensions: 20 x 37.9″
Medium: photographic print from original film still on aluminum
Putin’s Ashes editions are stills from Nadya’s August 2022 performance with the same title. In this work, Tolokonnikova burned a 10 x 10 foot portrait of the Russian president, performed rituals, and cast spells to chase Putin away. Twelve women participated in the performance. The participating women had to experience acute hatred and resentment toward the portrait’s subject to join this performance. Most of the participants were either Ukrainian, Belarusian, or Russian. The video was directed and edited by Nadya, who also composed the original score. The prints capture beautiful and powerful moments from this time-based piece, and are produced on metal in an edition of three
Nadya Tolokonnikova is known internationally as the founder of the Russian feminist activist group Pussy Riot. She has instigated some of the most significant actions of social justice against Russian tyranny, including Pussy Riot’s Punk Prayer in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Tolokonnikova was subsequently imprisoned in Siberia, where she was forced to sew Russian army uniforms. In true Tolokonnikova form, she used the sewing skills the regime forced her to learn against them, by creating her own anti-Putin artworks (such as this one) using these same skills. The resulting Putin’s Ashes artworks put Tolokonnikova on the international art world map as her first collectible museum and gallery artworks. They also earned her a Russian arrest warrant and a spot on Putin’s most wanted list. The art historical and political significance of these works is profound.