As some of you know, I am currently preparing for an exhibition and art residency in Russia. We, my husband and I, have finally had all our paperwork approved and just received our passports back from the Russian Consulate—each with an elaborate Russian Federation visa inside!
My mind is racing! Going over the exhibition in my mind, making sure I have everything. Drawings—yes. Installation—yes. Tiny nails—yes. Yet there remains a mountain of a list that still needs to be completed.
I have never been to Russia before, so I am not sure what to expect. My grandfather (and the rest of my ancestors) immigrated to Canada from Russia—I wonder if I will feel a connection to the landscape as they did.
The place that we will be staying is called Petrozavodsk (Петрозаводск). It is the capital city of the Republic of Karelia and is located 5 hours north-east of Saint Petersburg via train. The city is strategically situated along the shores of Lake Onega, the second largest lake in Europe. According to archeological discoveries, there have been signs of people living within the area of the current city limits for the past seven thousand years. In 1703 Tsar Peter the Great founded a settlement here because of the rich iron deposits. He created a factory to manufacture cannons and anchors for his new fleet of ships and called the settlement Petrovskaya Sloboda. The city was often called Petrovsky Zavod, meaning Peter’s factory, which later became Petrozavodsk.
The residency is through AiR Karalia and the exhibition will be held at the Vyhod Media Centre. I am looking forward to exploring Russia, meeting the lovely people I have been in contact with and spending a month focusing on and working on art.
I will write more about the exhibition and my residency project in upcoming posts.