Varvara Shavrova’s paintings, photographs, drawings and video work are set against the backdrop of the longest border in the world, shared between Russia and China. Along the seam of this vast expanse of land, the artist explores the metaphysical terrain of her own global nomadism – from Russia, England, Namibia, South Africa, and Ireland to China. And it is throughout this meandering exploration that she aims to investigate the power of borders themselves.
The goal of Shavrova’s project is to posit the existence of a contemporary reality that cannot be bound by borders. In a world of contested space inscribed by myriad competing powers, the artist finds a clearing where the border loses its structure and, thus, its resonance. In this moment where the border is divested of its power, fears about national conflict, political rivalry, and the contest for a land lose their grip.
In effect, Shavrova examines the lasting imprint that borders – physical, political, cultural, and historical – contribute to our own notions of freedom and belonging.
Borders exhibition was supported by Galway International Arts Festival