Scream louder, my friend (2018 — 2021)

I live in Chelyabinsk, a city located on the Miass River the southeastern Ural Mountains. A city of plants and factories that relies on heavy industry. Its relative obscurity was broken by a spectacular encounter with a meteorite in February 2013 and it seemed that only a few outside observers knew much about this seventh-largest city in Russia. Though the internet has exploded with memes that celebrated both the grit and sense of humor of its citizens, not many imagine what life here is like.

Chelyabinsk is very harsh on its inhabitants. Most of the time it seems like it’s easier to leave than change something here. The ecological situation is terrible: fuming factories, and gloomy faces of passers-by… No one declares themselves as being totally here. Any changes are hard. If you wanna be heard you have to scream louder. It seems like everyone looks for an opportunity to move, to run away from here.

My friends and I are always joking: if you wanna be an artist, you have to leave this place. But for now, we are not in a rush, we are convinced that there is still a space we can explore here, and we are doing it. This pictures are part of that faith, and that effort.

I want to find out and reveal that art hiding in the small rooms of our city, on its over painted balconies; in the pictures hanging on the wallpaper, in spots of paint on a sink. We are young, we are hanging out, making big plans and dreams for the future. We are making our first tours, our first exhibitions, and our first performances. We are discovering the world and we make up a small but cheerful community with whom to have and share our own parties and concerts, DIY posters and tickets. We are glad to share it all, and we don’t complain about the lack of fun, freedom, or money. 

I can compare Chelyabinsk to a huge charity shop. In tons of faded things you can find a shiny pearl in a person, a dear friend. This is a story about us, about me and my friends trying to make a difference, and struggling to change, if not the world, at least the world around us. Some, of course, have already left, but they will remain forever as a part of these times and this experiences. As photographs, but specially as loud screams, and also as shared burning desires to declare that we are here, that it is possible to explore and live a meaningful and creative life in a bleak industrial city of the Ural mountains, in this last eastern corner of Europe.