Home Interior Design Russia added Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova to its most wanted list, saying her NFT art is ‘obscene’

Russia added Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova to its most wanted list, saying her NFT art is ‘obscene’

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Russia has named activist Nadya Tolokonnikova, co-founder of the Pussy Riot feminist performance art collective, to its wanted list for suspects following it recent gallery exhibitionPutin’s ashes,” To jeffrey deich in Los Angeles.

The exhibit marked the start of Pussy Riot’s latest music video, in which Tolokonnikova stages a ritual burning of a 10-foot-tall portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, visualizing his desired death. (Earlier this year, she spoke at length about the project and her dedication to both art and political activism with the Artnet News podcast on artistic angle.)

The artist believes the high-profile exhibit, with its anti-Putin message, sparked Russia’s renewed efforts to silence it.

“My Instagram disappeared and this new criminal case was announced less than a week after the broadcast,” Tolokonnikova said in a statement. “Police detained friends and family.”

Nadya Tolokonnikova, co-founder of Pussy Riot.  Photo courtesy of Pussy Riot.

Nadya Tolokonnikova, co-founder of Pussy Riot. Photo courtesy of Pussy Riot.

Tolokonnikova had already spent nearly two years in a labor camp after being convicted of ‘hooliganism’ for the collective’s performance art protest in 2012 punk prayer at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. This time around, she could face an additional two years in prison, plus a fine of up to 300,000 rubles ($4,000), according to rolling stone.

The artist’s inclusion on the Russian Interior Ministry’s wanted list was first reported by prominent Russian human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov on the independent Russian news site Medouza. MediazoneRussian anti-Putin outlet founded by Tolokonnikova and fellow Pussy Riot founder Maria Alyokhina later identified Tolokonnikova’s name in the government database.

The new criminal case against the artist cites one of his NFT art projects, a drawing above Tolokonnikova’s prison sentencing papers that Russian authorities say “insulted religious sensibilities” by prominently depicting the Virgin Mary in the form of the vulva. This is illegal under Article 148 of Russia’s criminal code, an offense added following Pussy Riot’s 2012 conviction. (Tolokonnikova calls it the “Pussy Riot article.”)

“Any truly political artist risks their personal safety for the sake of their art… This is not a new concept to me,” Tolokonnikova said. “But [it is] possibly the first time an NFT’s art has been used as evidence to try to throw someone in jail.

Shepard Fairey et Pussy Riot, <em>Putin’s Ashes</em> (2022).  Courtesy of the artists.  ” width=”764″ height=”1024″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/03/putins-ashes-shepard-fairey-pussy-riot-764×1024.jpg 764w , https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/03/putins-ashes-shepard-fairey-pussy-riot-224×300.jpg 224w, https://news.artnet.com/app/ news-upload/2023/03/putins-ashes-shepard-fairey-pussy-riot-1146×1536.jpg 1146w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/03/putins-ashes-shepard -faire-pussy-riot-37×50.jpg 37w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/03/putins-ashes-shepard-faire-pussy-riot.jpg 1200w” sizes=” (max-width: 764px) 100vw, 764px”/></p>
<p id=Shepard Fairey and Pussy Riot Putin’s ashes (2022). Courtesy of the artists.

The artist became one of the main proponents of NFTs, which she leveraged as a activist fundraising tool. Just two days after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, she founded UkraineDAO, raising over $7 million through sales of a Ukrainian flag NFT. She continues to support the cause with a Putin’s ashes NFT by Shepard Faireywith profits going to Bakhmut’s front line unit in Ukraine.

The play that sparked the new criminal charges against the artist, titled Virgin Mary, become a feminist please, sold on SuperRare on September 30, 2021, for 40ETH ($120,000). Along with the Virgin Mary at its center, the artwork features other colorful doodles around the borders, including the Russian and LGBTQ flags, ice cream cones, bunnies, and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Tolokonnikova described the artwork in an artist statement at the time, saying, “I decided to work with papers from my prison term and to overcome the negative experience I decided to subvert it. with colorful, childish and joyful images. I wanted to turn my traumatic experience into something positive as much as possible.

Pussy Riot, <em>Virgin Mary, please become a feminist</em> (2021).  Courtesy of the artist.  ” width=”1024″ height=”993″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/03/VIRGINMARYPLEASEBECOMEAFEMINIST-1024×993.jpeg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com /app/news-upload/2023/03/VIRGINMARYPLEASEBECOMEAFEMINIST-300×291.jpeg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/03/VIRGINMARYPLEASEBECOMEAFEMINIST-1536×1489.jpeg 1536w, https://news .artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/03/VIRGINMARYPLEASEBECOMEAFEMINIST-2048×1985.jpeg 2048w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/03/VIRGINMARYPLEASEBECOMEAFEMINIST-50×48.jpeg 50w, https ://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/03/VIRGINMARYPLEASEBECOMEAFEMINIST-1920×1861.jpeg 1920w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p id=Pussy Riot, Virgin Mary, become a feminist please (2021). Courtesy of the artist.

Court documents seeking the artist’s arrest, translated from Russian by representatives of Pussy Riot, describe the work as “an expression of a clear disrespect for the image of the icon of Virgin Mary, depicted in an obscene form, so that the image is perceived as outwardly similar to the anatomical details of the female external genitalia…expressing disrespect, contempt for the revered image in Christianity.

In December 2021, Russia called Tolokonnikova “aforeign agentas part of her efforts to stifle her anti-government activism and discredit her. Although she left Russia to avoid further incarceration, she refused to remain silent.

“They threaten us but we can’t show our fear,” Tolokonnikova said. “I will use the tools I have as an artist and crypto enthusiast to keep fighting. I am not a soldier, I am an artist, art is my weapon. Glad to see they have fear.”

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