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Date & Location

Siberia, Russia.


Performance by Maria Kulikovska in collaboration with Mila Dolman during the Krasnoyarsk Biennale.


«Patience?» was held by Maria Kulikovska in collaboration with Russian-British artist Mila Dolman. Since the illegal occupation and annexation of Crimean Peninsula by Russian Federation in 2014, both artists worked with the common themes and in their collaborations they were reflecting about the similarity and difference of the countries and cultures, about the roles and conflict.

In September 2015, the Krasnoyarsk Biennale took place, within which Maria Kulikovska together with Mila Dolman created their common performance - «Patience?». Using Ukrainian traditional whitework embroidery, Mila embroidered the word «Patience» and Maria – a question mark – «?».

Maria's white threads shone in the dark and were the only one visible message at night. Simultaneously with the process of embroidery, leeches as all the external conflict circumstances were hanging on the backs of the artists and were sucking their blood until falling off being drunk enough. «Patience?» is a demonstration (unjustified?) patience. The dialogue between artists developed within some quite ordinary, but very important that must be answered: why do we tolerate pain, should we continue to suffer and where does patience end?

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I was born in a sunny provincial town near two seas – the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. My father is from Siberia, he comes from a family of former convicts sent to penal colonies. My mother was born in Western Ukraine, but her family fled to Crimean steppes when repressions started. My grandmother plowed the virgin soil, she grew grapevines and orchards on the sun-burned and salted through land, creating a blossoming paradise. Before, I thought that Siberia was my second motherland even though I have been there only once. My dad always told me stories about taiga before bedtime. Tales about impenetrable Siberian forests, crystal-clear lakes and sullen people, about snowstorms and frost, snow piles and wild animals, about winters that last for nine months. Because of this I have grown up to love the people that I never met.

Annexation and war have divided us. Some chose to play accusers and attackers, some were left to play the victim's role, to wait and endure. Also, as a result we got a clear understanding of the fact that we are all very different, we are completely different. Even though we use the same language and we have so much in common – the horror of penal camps, prisons, poverty, treachery, wars and repressions.

In this performance my mission is simply in making a space and embroidering a question mark after the word "patience." I embroider with white thread. I do it calmly and in silence, I cope with my internal pain. White on white. This is traditional Ukrainian embroidery for clothes and towels used in special solemn occasions, this embroidery is the most complex and expensive. My white threads are not common ones – they glow in the dark. My question is barely noticeable during daytime, but at night it is the only thing that can be seen. It becomes white on black like the cold glow from fires and blasts.

Me and Mila are sitting on a black platform called architecton. It is a sort of an Absolute. It is like the Black Square painting by Malevich, who was born in Ukraine, lived and worked in Ukraine, Poland and Russia. But his "square" is like a bible for every artist. We want our "square" to become a platform for the questioning and answering.

— Maria Kulikovska
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