Express interviews with the participants of the symposium

Express interviews with the participants of the symposium
Photo: Jānis Leščinskis

In May 2023, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art in collaboration with all the projects' "From Complicated Past Towards Shared Futures" partners—National Gallery of Art in Vilnius (Lithuanian National Museum of Art), OFF-Biennale in Budapest, Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz, and Malmö Art Museum—organised the final event of the project, an international symposium with the same title as the project itself. The program of the symposium consisted of six thematic sessions on issues related to the transformations and current realities of Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet region.

As part of the symposium, we asked eight of the participants—Aigerim Kapar, Antonina Stebur, Bojana Piškur, Darya Tsymballyuk, Katarzyna Bojarska, Lotte Løvholm, Santa Remere, Zsuzsa László—to each answer one question that is at the core of their individual professional work, as well as in the centre of the panel they were participating in during the symposium.

Aigerim Kapar on how can art tackle topics of difficult pasts from a postcolonial/decolonial point of view?

Aigerim Kapar is an interdependent curator, interdisciplinary researcher, and a decolonial activist based in Almaty and Astana. Kapar founded Artcom Platform, a Central Asian community-based contemporary art and public engagement organization in 2015. She has also been organizing Art Collider, a school where art meets science that has been bringing communities together since 2017. Kapar curates a hybrid reality project, Steppe Space, an important space for contemporary art and culture of Central Asia, and initiated projects of care for lake ecosystems SOS Taldykol and Balqashqa Qamqor in 2020. Her key previous works include Re-membering: Dialogues of Memories (2019), an international intergenerational project in memory of survivors and victims of twentieth-century political repressions in Kazakhstan, and Time & Astana: After Future (2017–18), an urban art research and engagement project.

Lotte Løvholm & Bojana Piškur  on how can art institutions and artists engage in their work national collections and art containing national and international narratives from the past?

Lotte Løvholm is an independent curator and editor based in Copenhagen and runs art space Collega. With a background in critical theory, she relates art to contemporary culture and cultural history. She often collaborates with other curators and artists as a way of acknowledging blind spots and valuing colleagues in her freelance life. Lotte’s practice is situated between intense digging in archives and more extrovert activities. Together with Inga Lāce she is the curator of The Latvian Collection at Malmö Konstmuseum and with Awa Konaté is the curator of Jeannette Ehlers’ solo exhibition Archives in the Tongue: A Litany of Freedoms at Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Lotte is the editor of Algorithm (2023) with Anne Kølbæk Iversen, Museum of Care (2019), and Say It Loud (2016). She is part of Nikolaj Kunsthal’s selection committee for PLATFORM (2022–24) and runs conversation series Living Archives at Bastard Performance Art Journal.

Bojana Piškur works as a curator in Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana. Her professional focus is on political issues as they relate to or are manifested in the field of art, with special emphasis on the region of post-Yugoslavia and the global South. She has curated/co-curated a series of exhibitions entitled Southern Constellations: The Poetics of the Non-Aligned that were shown in Ljubljana, Gwangju, Rijeka, Podgorica, Skopje, Ramallah, and London. Her latest projects include Art at Work: At the Crossroads between Utopianism and (In)Dependence (curated by B. Piškur, A. Mizerit, I. Španjol, Z. Badovinac) and Exercises in a Collection, both Moderna galerija, Ljubljana.

Santa Remere on how do inclusive projects and art mediation help construct shared (and better) futures?

Santa Remere has a background in visual communication and art anthropology. She works as a publicist and art critic for Latvian and Baltic magazines, mostly with a focus on cultures of young audiences, contemporary theatre, and feminist topics. She has authored a book of feminist tales for children entitled Our Sisters (2020). Since 2015, Santa has regularly worked as a dramaturg, researcher, and producer for the International Festival of Contemporary Theatre Homo Novus, which often focuses on the inclusion of different communities. She has collaborated with international theatre companies and artists, such as Mette Edvardsen, Andy Field, Japanese theatre unit Port B, and the Canadian art-atelier Mammalian diving reflex, including assisting with the translations of language and local context and realizations of international performances in remote conditions. In 2021, she worked on the expansive sound project Witness Stands by Australian artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey in Riga dedicated to deep listening to the contested places and their histories.

Katarzyna Bojarska & Antonina Stebur on how can art help work through the legacy of the difficult past?

Katarzyna Bojarska is an assistant professor in the department of Cultural Studies at SWPS University in Warsaw and president of the NGO View, Foundation for Visual Culture, where she co-founded and is currently the editor of View: Theories and Practices of Visual Culture, an international, open access, online academic journal ( She has received numerous grants and awards including Fulbright and Horizon2020 (, as well as individual and group grants from the National Centre for Science. Her research interests include cultural memory, gender and memory, trauma, and visual culture studies, as well as contemporary arts. She is an active art critic and member of the AICA.

Antonina Stebur is a curator, art historian, and art critic. She works as a guest lecturer at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) where she teaches an art activism course. She is a co-founder of the #damaudobnayavbytu project on gender discrimination in post-Soviet countries and the research platform Spaika.Media. She was co-curator of the exhibitions Every Day. Art. Solidarity. Resistance (Ukraine, 2021), Names (Belarus, 2017), I Was Approaching the City I Had Not Known Yet (Ukraine, 2021), and If Disrupted It Becomes Tangible (Lithuania, 2023), among others. She is a co-founder and curator of, the International Coalition of Cultural Workers in Solidarity with Ukraine. Her research interests include feminism, post-Soviet studies, political art, tactics of resistance and solidarity, and developing infrastructure.

Darya Tsymbalyuk on what can art do to assist in facing environmental crises, climate change, and extractionist approaches to nature?

Darya Tsymbalyuk is a researcher and artist from Ukraine. Her work lies at the intersection of environmental humanities and artistic research and engages with feminist and decolonial methodologies. She is currently a Max Hayward Visiting Fellow at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. Darya obtained her PhD in 2021 from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, with the PhD dissertation “Multispecies Ruptures: Stories of Displacement and Human-Plant Relations from Donbas, Ukraine,” where she foregrounded more-than-human aspects of migration by focusing on human-plant relations in oral histories of internally displaced persons.

Zsuzsa László on what can we learn from artists that managed to realize their artistic potentials despite working in oppressive regimes?

Zsuzsa László is a researcher and curator at the Central European Research Institute for Art History (KEMKI), Budapest. She is a member of the editorial team of ARTMargins Online, tranzit/hu’s board, and the Hungarian section of AICA. Her forthcoming dissertation discusses the emergence and critique of the concept of East European Art through exhibitions. Recent projects and publications she has co-curated, co-authored, and co-edited explore transnational exhibition histories, artist archives, progressive pedagogies, cultural transfers, and decentralized understanding of conceptualism and neo-avant-gardes in Cold War Eastern Europe, including Resonances: Regional and Transregional Cultural Transfer in the Art of the 1970s (2021‒23), What Will Be Already Exists: Temporalities of Cold War Archives in East-Central Europe and Beyond (2021), 1971: Parallel Nonsynchronism (2018/22), Creativity Exercises (2014/15/16/20), Sitting Together (2016), and Parallel Chronologies (2009–23).