1. GA-English
  2. News

Demonstration in Bad Godesberg: Protesters denounce human rights violations in Belarus

Demonstration in Bad Godesberg : Protesters denounce human rights violations in Belarus

With a video installation, Bonn-based conceptual artist Natasza Deddner drew attention to the fate of people in Belarus. In addition, 40 people demonstrated in front of the Fronhofer Galeria in Bad Godesberg on Saturday.

Conceptual artist Natasza Deddner wants to draw attention to the fate of people in Belarus, to violations of human rights. She was recently shaken up by a newspaper report about Dimitrij Stachowskij: the young man had been denounced in the course of the protests against possible falsifications in the presidential election. The young man from Belarus was so desperate that he jumped to his death from the 15th floor to escape a prison sentence. He lived to be only 18 years old. "While I was reading the article, its content caused an extremely strong feeling of powerlessness in me and a very deep sadness," Deddner says. She had rented an exhibition space in "Raum B12" on Bürgerstraße for a video installation.

Also in Bad Godesberg, there was a solidarity rally in front of the Fronhofer Galeria on Saturday. About 40 people had gathered here at the invitation of the Libertas Belarus initiative on the occasion of an international day of remembrance.

Deddner had come up with a concept for the video installation, through which "Dimitri's fall" could be experienced over and over again, thus giving the fate of the Belarusians a presence. In addition, Deddner wanted to draw attention to President Alexander Lukashenko. "The more I delved into the article, a second visualisation for a video installation immediately took place, this time with a strong acoustic effect on the recipients. This work portrays Belarus, because Belarus is not the terror of the moment, Belarus is the people, the Belarusians."

Giving Belarusians a voice

Deddner wants to give them a voice: "It's about the transience of human existence due to deportation, imprisonment and the sudden disappearance of people fighting for their freedom." Her work aims to show the process of what she calls Lukashenko's "unjust and inhumane" exercise of power in parallel with the legitimacy of each individual Belarusian's being.

Six videos on one screen each showed a fall from the perspective of the person falling from the 15th floor of a high-rise building. In addition, a wall projection showed a video in which the "shortness" of human presence was represented by sequences that were only seconds long. This was accompanied by voices speaking Belarusian, which filled the room. Deddner deliberately used the medium of video installation so that the art would develop a special effect on the visitor.

Musicians also join the project

Through her spatial installations, the artist came into contact with the Belarusian diaspora, which gave the whole project a very strong dynamic. This is how many people became part of the project. Musicians from the #MusicForBelarus movement had also joined the project. Deddner wanted to create a podium for a joint dialogue between the diaspora and the general population, explains the Polish-born artist. She wanted to encourage the Belarusians and show that Europe has not forgotten them.

On Saturday, the exhibition "art is resistance" was to close with a protest action and a concert for Belarus in "Room B12". However, due to a "lack of interest in the topic", Deddner had to cancel the finissage and protest event without further ado. "I regret this very much because there is a noticeable indifference to the subject in society here. In other words, the disregard for freedom rights and the freedom that is not lived in Belarus and other states," says Deddner.

Meanwhile, in front of the Fronhof Galeria, the Libertas Belarus initiative commemorated with about 40 participants up to 200,000 victims of the terror by Josef Stalin who died in Kurapaty near Minsk in the 1930s. "That was one of the darkest nights in Belarus," says Yauheniya Hukava, co-organiser of the rally. "There were many poets and writers among them who belonged to the Belarusian cultural elite at that time."

Original text: Niklas Schröder

Translation: Mareike Graepel