11 March–29 May 2023

Event Series

Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
nGbK, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin


ᠰᠶᠦᠷᠧᠠᠯᠢᠶ᠎ᠠ, Gul Altyn, appak, BaderNisa, Balapan, Medina Bazarğali, MU collective, Altan Khaluun Darkhan, Never Odd or Even, Keto Gorgadze, un|rest group, Ksti Hu, Insaya, Sanjin Jirgal, Ars Kerim, klöna, iskandaria kukchachak, Gilyana Mandzhieva, norma, Polina Osipova, Patimat Partu, Ptuška, Qalamqas, qodiriy, Victoria Sarangova, sn, Tegryash, Neseine Toholya, YumKai, Gul Zeile


Dennis Chiponda (Chipi), Alex Choybsonov, Selbi Durdiyeva, Lidia Grigoryeva, Dankhaiaa Khovalyg, Angelika Kim, Vira Protskykh, Giorgi Rodionov, Anna Safuta, Sasha Shestakova, Hanna Tsyba, Yeza Yusupova, Valeriia Zubatenko

Project group

FATA collective

People from more than 185 ethnic groups live in russia.** Despite this fact, the country is still largely perceived as white, especially in the West. Even though ethnic minorities were and are oppressed and have been the targets of ethnic cleansing and even genocide, colonialism is often perceived as a Western import, not just by the regime, but also by large parts of the russian opposition. Rather than dealing with the country’s colonial history, a narrative of russia as an anti-colonial and anti-imperialist power is being upheld and has even gained momentum since russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The exhibition Өмә ([ome]; Bashqort for “collective self-help practices”) demonstrates that the current war and the annexation of Crimea in 2014 are just the latest events in a historical continuity of russian imperialism. While Ukrainian positions have often – and rightfully – been foregrounded in the past year, Өмә seeks to make room for anticolonial resistance within russia.

To this end, the exhibition shows approximately thirty artistic positions from members of indigenous communities and persons with migrant identities and experience of living in russia. They reveal russia as a colonial power that could only constitute itself within its current borders by deportation, forced assimilation, Christianization, russification and extractivism.

Since the image of a white russia is being upheld not only by the regime but by the predominantly white opposition as well, the decolonial movements that emerged after the dissolution of the USSR never gained traction. By telling theirstories and developing methods of autoethnography and working with memory through archives, Өмә therefore seeks to represent the complexity of russia as a colonial realm. In doing so, the exhibition situates itself within the historical and political context of an ongoing russian colonial expansion and violence in different territories.

A project of nGbK in cooperation with Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien.

** With their decision not to capitalize the noun “russia” as well as adjectives and proper names derived from it, the curators of the exhibition express their support for the people of Ukraine.


Friday, 10 March 2023, 17:00 – 23:00 (de/en)
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997
Opening of the exhibition Өмә

18:00: Welcome speech and curatorial introduction

21:00: DJ set by Dosaaf (DJ and co-founder of Minsk-based queer techno parties Петушня)

Saturday, 25 March 2023, 13:00 (en)
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
Guided tour with the curatorial team (FATA collective)

Saturday, 25 March 2023, 16:00 – 18:00 (de/ukr)
nGbK event space 1st floor, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin
Discussion “In search of lost solidarity, or why there are no Ukrainians in the exhibition” with Valeriia Zubatenko, Vira Protskykh and Hanna Tsyba

More than a year after the russian invasion of Ukraine, it became clear that the basic rule “nothing about us without us” is not working and remains a theoretical construct. Thus, Ukrainian cultural workers will come together to speak to speak firsthand about what kind of solidarity they are looking for and why it is so difficult to find it in Western Europe. In the format of a panel discussion, Ukrainian politically engaged cultural figures and artists will talk about the difference between the anti-imperial and anti-colonial struggle of the Ukrainian people and those of people from other parts of the former USSR. Moreover, they will explain why it is wrong to mix agendas and unethical to organize events with people from russia and Ukraine in the same room.

The FATA collective invites representatives of Berlin-based cultural institutions to think about the weak spots of the field together and look for ways to change this situation.

Sunday, 26 March 2023, 14:00 – 16:00 (ukr)
Closed workshop “Я не умру від смерти – я умру від життя” with Valeriia Zubatenko and Vira Protskykh

A reflection on national identity through feminist writing and visual poetry

Critical reflection on the concept of the nation, a revision of the cultural canon and the development of strategies of resistance in the Ukrainian context are more relevant than ever and can only be discussed in a save environment. On the one hand, the russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 has led to personal paradigm changes for many, which require deep reflection. On the other hand, propaganda of the russian federation about “Ukrainian neo-Nazis who eat children” is prevailing, which plays together with Western left-wing feminist attitudes about the inadmissibility of nationalism. While creating safe spaces is very difficult, especially in a military context, it is in our power to create a resource space without judgment, in which Ukrainians can raise pressing topics, which are rarely discussed outside of Ukraine. Through work with the Ukrainian literary canon and its reappraisal through feminist writing and visual poetry, the participants will delve together into the topic of anti-chauvinist nationalism and Ukrainian identity.

Я не помру від смерті - я помру від життя
- закритий воркшоп-рефлексія для україн_ок про національну ідентичність через феміністське письмо і візуальну поезію.

Питання національної ідеї, культурного канону та стратегій опору в українському контексті як ніколи актуальні та потенційно болючі для обговорення у небезпечному середовищі. З одного боку, у багатьох з нас після 24 лютого 2022 року відбулися особистісні парадигмальні зміни щодо найіонального питання, які потребують глибокої рефлексії, а з іншого боку, є пропаганда Росії про “українських неонацистів, які їдять дітей”, а також західні ліві умовно феміністичні настанови про недопустимість націоцентризму.

Безпечний простір як концепт сам по собі є дуже проблематичним, особливо у військовому контексті, однак у наших силах створити ресурсний простір без осуду, в якому українки та українці зможуть підняти теми, що на поверхні, проте для яких не знаходиться місця за межами України. Через роботу з українським літературним каноном та його переоцінкою за допомогою фемписьма та візуальної поезії ми разом поринемо у тему антишовіністичного націоналізму та української ідентичності.

Воркшоп пройде 26 березня з 14:00 до 16:00. Адресу ми надішлемо після реєстрації – для цього ми просимо вас до 12:00 25 березня написати на пошту fata_collective@proton.me пару рядків про себе та те, чому ви хочете взяти участь у воркшопі. За бажанням на воркшоп можна принести старі журнали, ножиці та клей, але ведучі також підготують для вас матеріали.

Saturday, 01 April 2023, 16:00 – 18:00 (en)
nGbK event space 1st floor, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin
Lecture “Not in Our Name – Why russia is Not a Decolonial Ally: Misuses of the Decolonial Agenda” by Selbi Durdiyeva

The decolonial turn marked a radical shift in how we think about the world. In the process, decolonization also became a trend and a fashionable term that is often misappropriated. An assumption exists, not least among decolonial scholars, that the rejection of human rights norms and the international system as “western” phenomena makes a country a decolonial ally. In her lecture, Selbi Durdiyeva aims to dismantle this assumption, drawing on the irony of putin styling russia as part of the Global South despite the Soviet Union’s and russia’s colonial history and present and Soviet pseudo-internationalism, which was rooted in a “muted racism” (Madina Tlostanova).

The lecture draws on the genealogy of human rights as a concept and historicizes the Soviet Union’s and russia’s attitude towards human rights. While not discounting the colonial roots of the international system, it shows that different discourses on human rights exist. Decolonizing human rights, Durdiyeva argues, would imply relying on the discourse of rights born out of liberation movements, rather than the sovereign discourse (Ariella Aïsha Azoulay).

The lecture proposes that decoloniality implies the struggle of people against a system built broken. It shows that imperial attitudes promulgate a “non-ethics” of war (Achille Mbembe), and that de-Westernization does not always equate to decolonization.

Sunday, 02 April 2023, 12:00 (de)
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
Guided tour with the curatorial team (FATA collective)

Sunday, 02 April 2023, 12:00 (de/en)
nGbK event space 1st floor, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin
Panel “Thinking in Our Languages – Gender and Race in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia”

Most of the terms that are used to talk about privilege and discrimination are derived from the US American context. This creates challenges for activists from other parts of the world – in this case, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Fighting against racism and gender discrimination, they often face false accusations of “copying” Western models and categories. This two-part event demonstrates the diversity and uniqueness of ongoing debates about race and gender in transnational activist circles between Western Europe and the regions in question.

15:00: Discussion “Antislavism, Whiteness and Racism in Germany and Western Europe” with Anna Safuta, Angelika Kim and Dennis Chiponda (Chipi)

Moderation: Juri Wasenmüller

Discussions about “antislavism” as a form of discrimination have become more visible in German media in the last five years. The term was coined and used by activists, journalists and academics to describe the discrimination faced by people from “Eastern Europe” in Germany and Western Europe more broadly. Some materials on social media and in the field of political education describe antislavism as a form of racism, but the term remains insufficiently defined.

The roundtable will discuss recent contestations of the term. Is it appropriate to refer to antislavism as a form of “racism”, given how most migrants from “Eastern Europe” are perceived as white? Is the term essentializing? Which experiences need to be included in the debate? Are there alternative ways to talk about the discrimination of people from Eastern Europe and the former USSR without making invisible the power dynamics, colonial legacies and racialization processes within those regions? These and other questions will be discussed by activists and researchers with Eastern European and Central Asian backgrounds.

17:00: Lecture “Being queer in the South Caucasus: Challenging Western Stereotypes Through Art Practices” by Giorgi Rodionov

Art has recently taken a leading position in fostering social justice, becoming an instrument to fight for a “better future”. This is especially relevant for issues that are foreign to the context in which they start circulating. At the same time, important questions arise. Even though sexual and gender identities have always existed, queerness in the South Caucasus has slowly begun to be perceived as “Western ideology”. Where does this idea come from? What do sexuality and ideology have to do with each other? And what is the role of art in promoting a Western-oriented view of queerness?

It has been three decades since the USSR collapsed, but it seems impossible for the now independent countries to get rid of the label “post-Soviet”. Queer people from the South Caucasus are facing not only the eternal mutation of their countries’ unclear ideologies but also a constant pressure to fit into the foreign models “the West” is importing, with no space to find local equivalents. It is no surprise that certain concepts and the realities to which they are pointing seem unclear and “shocking” to these countries’ societies. This confusion creates more gaps than bridges.

In his talk Giorgi Rodionov will present practices of queer artists from the South Caucasus that actively challenge the stereotypical “Western” understandings of queerness. They promote experimental ways of recomposing fractures within communities by creating alternative models and opening spaces of dialogue.

Thursday, 06 April 2023, 18:00 (en)
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
Guided tour with the curatorial team (FATA collective)

Wednesday, 26 April 2023, 17:00 (en)
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
Guided tour with the curatorial team (FATA collective)

Thursday, 27 April 2023, 16:00 – 20:00 (de/en/ru)
nGbK, Veranstaltungsraum, 1. OG, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin
Panel discussion “Racism in russia – Decolonial Perspectives” and lecture “Contaminating Images”

16:00 – 18:00: Panel discussion “Racism in russia: Decolonial Perspectives” with Alex Choybsonov (social entrepreneur, LGBTQ+ and refugee rights activist), Lidia Grigoryeva (activist from Sakha Republic), Yeza Yusupova (civil activist from the North Caucasus)

Moderation: Dankhaiaa Khovalyg

How does racism work in russia? Before the invasion of Ukraine, russia was mostly perceived as homogenously white and Slavic. But with the increasing visibility of Indigenous resistance in the West, questions about the way racism works arise in russia as well. There is an urgency in the country of exposing the role of racialization and racism in colonial violence towards Indigenous communities. The discussion between five Indigenous activists from different regions within contemporary russian borders will tackle this question, as well as demonstrate strategies of decolonial anti-racist resistance.

18:00 – 20:00 Lecture “Contaminating Images” by Sasha Shestakova

How does visual culture support nuclear colonialism? In their lecture, Sasha Shestakova will engage in a dialogue with “Thyroxia,” an artwork by Keto Gorgadze and Ptuška, which addresses russian nuclear colonialism. Shestakova will uncover three aspects of colonialism, contamination, and temporalities.

Epistemic inequality: By centering on the bodily experience of russian nuclear colonialism, Keto Gorgadze and Ptuška reveal a structural inequality that enables the gradual destruction of bodies. According to geographer Thom Davies, “epistemic inequality” invalidates the experiences of colonialism and decolonial resistance, thus paving the way for long-term violence. In the soviet context, the images of fake unity produced epistemic inequality. An examination of the visual culture of the “friendship of the people” will expose how russification tried to rob these people, many of whom resisted russian colonialism, of their future.

Clashing temporalities: The extended temporalities of disease and contamination revealed by “Thyroxia” are in direct conflict with the temporalities of progress produced by the Soviet visual culture of the “peaceful atom.” Interrogating this temporal clash, Sasha Shestakova will look at how the Soviet visual culture developed the infrastructural visions of progress that sustained the deathworlds of colonial violence.

Resistance: Introducing Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Georgian resistance to the deadly effects of Soviet nuclear colonialism, “Thyroxia” demonstrates the possibility of a future not occupied by russia. Expanding on that, Shestakova will discuss other resistances to russian nuclear colonialism and their versions of the future.

Monday, 15 May 2023, 17:00 (en)
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
Guided tour with the curatorial team (FATA collective)

Monday, 29 May 2023, 13:00 (en)
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
Guided tour with the curatorial team (FATA collective)

Monday, 29 May 2023, 17:00 (ru)
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
Guided tour with the curatorial team (FATA collective)