Pussy Riot

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In September 2013, Nadya Tolokonnikova from Pussy Riot started a hunger strike in the penal colony in Mordovia (Mordovlag). Her protest was directed against the difficult working conditions, as well as abuse that she and other inmates suffered at the hands of the colony’s guards and employees.

In her letter from the colony she wrote:

“My brigade in the sewing shop works 16 to 17 hours a day. From 7.30 am to 12.30 am. At best, we get four hours of sleep a night. We have a day off once every month and a half. We work almost every Sunday. Prisoners submit petitions to work on weekends ‘out of [their] own desire’.”

The artists Lusine Djanyan and Alexey Knedlyakovsky travelled to the colony to support Nadya during her imprisonment. They produced graphic images and posters, and exhibited them at the entrance of the colony to shine light on the denigration and abusive labour practices suffered by the women in the camp. The posters contributed to romanticizing the image of Nadya Tolokonnikova as a heroine fighting against the oppression of the state.