Rufi na Bazlova (born 1990 in Hrodna, Belarus) is an artist, illustrator and stage designer. She graduated from the Ladislav
Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen and the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre of the Theatre Faculty at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and has been active on the Czech art scene for over a decade. She uses the
traditional craft technique of embroidery as a medium of ironic expression in protesting against totalitarian power represented primarily by the ‘last European dictator’ Alexander Lukashenko. Currently, Rufina Bazlova is working on a participatory art project dedicated to political prisoners in Belarus called #FramedinBelarus that she conceived and is staging in collaboration with curator Sofi a Tocar. They wrote this about their international project:
The number of offi cially recognised political prisoners in Belarus currently stands at more than 1,500 people. This project aims to create portraits of each illegally convicted citizen using the traditional Belarusian embroidery technique of red thread on a white background, thereby
recording an important era of Belarusian history with a folk code – ornament. Participation in the project is a gesture of creative solidarity, allowing individuals to symbolically support those aff ected by the dictatorial regime and share their stories through an untraditional tool of
political protest – cross-stitching. The embroidery process is a long and meditative experience that allows participants to concentrate on their thoughts and feelings for a particular prisoner. By creating a portrait of a politica prisoner, participants sacrifice a little time as an act of solidarity.
Already, more than 600 people around the world have become ‘ambassadors’ of the project, stitching portraits of political prisoners individually or in groups. The final form of the project will be a collective canvas of all the embroidered portraits, symbolising the intertwining of political events and human destinies. The project is a continuation of the series History of Belarusian Vyzhyvanka created by Rufi na Bazlova in 2020–2021 and is run by the Stitchit Collective. Through the #FramedinBelarus project, the collective creative process allows individuals to speak
out against injustice and stand in solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus.
The presentation of the #FramedinBelarus project at GASK is a demonstration of support for democracy that is currently under threat in many
places (and in many ways) throughout Europe. It also demonstrates the ability of ‘humble’ creative media to address major issues of contemporary society. Here we see how ‘threads of resistance’ connect ordinary people and inspire them into extraordinary acts of ethical and wholly personal compassion.