The distinction between contemporary art exhibitions in Belarus and those held internationally, as well as between group and solo exhibitions, is an important factor to consider. There are two types of exhibitions in Belarus: regime-sponsored and independent; independent exhibitions usually take place with very little budget, if any. When considering exhibitions abroad, group exhibitions are typically the result of careful curatorial planning by multiple organizations, while solo exhibitions often showcase the results of an artist's residency programme, with a few exceptions. Despite the difficulties faced by contemporary artists in Belarus both domestically and abroad, there are several noteworthy projects that are worth mentioning.
The Antiwar Coalition's international tour showcases the solidarity of Belarusian and Ukrainian communities through exhibitions and public engagement. The platform's collection, currently displayed at Dymchuk Gallery in Kyiv, on show January 20 – March 3, 2023, not only creates a visually dynamic experience but also serves as a chance to donate for generator equipment needed for charging phones during blackouts. The momentum will continue with exhibitions in Dusseldorf in February and New York City by March 2023, offering a greater appreciation for art inspired by the peace effort amid the turmoil of war.
"The Concrete Trampoline," curated by Vasil Matalaniec, took place from September 9 to December 30, 2022 and sparked a major controversy in the Belarusian art community due to its venue at the Marina Gisich gallery in Saint Petersburg. During the war in Ukraine, some artists expressed strong disapproval of any association with or events held in Russia due to their involvement in the conflict, while others called for understanding and support as they lacked opportunities for international exposure. This divisive issue brought up questions of morality, as conflicting ideologies of pro-Western versus pro-Russian attitudes debated the best way to promote artistic expression from within Belarus.
From December 10, 2022 to January 29, 2023, BY LAW, a collaboration between artists Lesia Pčołka and Uładzimir Chramovič, was held at the Museum of Emigration in Gdynia, Poland, curated by Maksymilian Bochenek. BY LAW is part of the SUPPLEMENT series of artistic interventions, which address the theme of assimilation in migration. Lesia and Uładzimir, both social activists from Belarus, use objects and video projections to examine the difficulties they faced in obtaining permission to marry in Poland as migrants. Through highlighting their own bureaucratic struggles, they raise a larger question about the meaning of marriage in a time of mass migration and the challenges that migrants face navigating complex bureaucracy across multiple countries.
From December 13, 2022 to January 8, 2023, Alaksandr Bielski presented his solo exhibition "Nemesish". The exhibition was a visually striking commentary on the recent events in Belarus and the beginning of the war in Ukraine in 2022. Bielski explored the theme of art and visual culture in Eastern and East-Central Europe and its confrontation with contemporary monstrosity. The works on display, including paintings and multimedia pieces, were created during his residency at Schloss Wiepersdorf as part of the "PerspAKTIV" programme, showcasing his exceptional artistic skills and the ability to produce thought-provoking pieces. The exhibition was financially supported by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, highlighting the significance of the topics explored and the importance of cultural exchange between nations.
The solo Taša Kacuba's exhibition "The Weight of Memories" was curated by Volha Mželskaja and held at Galeria Promocyjna in Warsaw from January 18-28, 2023. The show explored the effects of personal and collective memories on identity, with a particular focus on the violence and repression in Belarus, as reflected in Kacuba's paintings and installations. The artist, currently residing in Poland, used her art to chronicle her own experiences of war and migration and to shed light on the suppressed memories and emotions associated with these events. Through her diary-style narrative, Kacuba aimed to convey the common pain faced by individuals who have lost their homes and loved ones during war and migration.
"Under the Sign of Void," curated by Julij Iljuščanka, took place from January 21 to March 21, 2023 at the "Vershy" creative space in Minsk, Belarus. The exhibition showcased works by three Belarusian artists, Siamion Matalaniec, Alena Tałobava and Maryja Panamarova, who are all based in Belarus. Iljuščanka aimed to bring together artists, collectors, and audiences through this exhibition, as indicated in its social media promotions. This exhibition marked the inaugural opening of the "Vershy" creative space and became the start of a promising venture. Iljuščanka also made sure to have the artists' discussions published on Sygma, a Russian-language platform focused on contemporary culture.
Belarusian artists Nadzia Sajapina, Jaŭhien Bułdyk, Lesia Pčołka, Siarhiej Šabochin, Varvara Sudnik, and Žana Hładko participated in the ECLAT 2023 festival in Stuttgart, Germany. The five-day culture festival, curated by Christina Fischer, was designed to provide a platform for artists to freely express their ideas without any predetermined themes or ideologies, featuring such mediums as music, poetry, and art. The works were presented within PlatformB, a digital production and discourse space for artists in exile representing a diverse group of artists from such countries as Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Experimenting with digital formats of sound, image, text, and video design, PlatformB provides a hybrid art space for artists. Fischer, a colleague of renowned Belarusian activist and musician Maryja Kaleśnikava, has been a consistent supporter of Belarusian artists in exile.