In 1909, Soviet feminist and politician Alexandra Kollontai penned The Social Basis of the Women’s Question, a book offering progressive systemic solutions to ensure women’s economic and political independence through labor legislation, sexual education, and free love—principles later adopted by many social democracies. More than a century later, however, the global struggle for women’s equality continues in the face of uneven justice systems.
Voicing the Silence is an exhibition project addressing issues of gender equality in the home, on the legislative level, and in professional spheres such as the field of art. The project responds to the current conservative turn that has empowered patriarchal systems in many societies today. In recent years, legislative initiatives aimed at limiting women’s rights have been numerous: decriminalization of domestic violence in Russia, Turkey’s Istanbul Convention exit, and new laws restricting abortion in the USA and Poland. All of this exacerbates women’s existing economic vulnerability resulting from unequal pay and labor conditions in most countries, and demonstrates how governments systematically deny women their basic rights of agency and protection.
The exhibition, along with accompanying public programs, amplifies the positions of Russian and international artists, who contribute to the global feminist agenda through art. Voicing the Silence showcases ways of challenging social and gender norms, unveils state mechanisms that control women’s rights and reproductive decisions, and addresses feminist movements across different countries and historical contexts. The audiences will also be invited to subvert established art history narratives and focus on female artists, whose positions have been overshadowed or instrumentalized.