Pussy Riot founder and member Masha Alekhina standing in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. | Resilient Cities

Moscow: Expression in the Face of Suppression

Moscow is a city where dissidents live in fear. After emerging from a decade of post-­Soviet economic and political turmoil, the country, under Putin’s rule, is a place where authorities have tightened control over the media and stifled the opposition. The government maintains a narrative that insists on the country’s unique power in contrast with the rest of Europe. In 2011, thousands of protestors gathered in Moscow to protest electoral fraud – it was the biggest show of protest since the fall of the USSR. Yet Russia’s environment of suppression infuses the underground art scene with a strong desire to challenge, subvert and disrupt the status quo.

In this episode, we follow one Canadian photographer and four Moscow artists: Pussy Riot founder and member Masha Alekhina, an actionist – activist whose work is a reaction to the prevailing status quo, a duo of quiet protestors/poets undertaking a “silent revolution,” and a performance artist who takes his colourful, imaginative pieces to the streets. All are rebellious, using the prevailing tension to create art that extends beyond the government’s heavy hand of repression. Some have even put their freedom at stake to tell their stories.

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Jerusalem: Artists Fighting for Their Own Truth

As one of the oldest cities in the world and of significance to followers of all three major religions, Jerusalem is constantly on edge. It is segregated into two distinct parts, East and West. In the streets, 18-­year-­old soldiers patrol the city with guns. Artists in both parts of the city are using art to find and fight for their own truth and bring about peace amid the regular eruptions of violence.

Lagos: Artists Provoking Debate

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Havana: Art from a Disconnected Island

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Manila: Creating In Spite of Fear

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