Olga Grotova. "I'll Tell My Daughter" film

"I'll Tell My Daughter" film screening
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow

June 1, 2023 – 19:00
Lecture Hall
"I'll Tell My Daughter" is a new film by artist Olga Grotova, created as part of the two-year research project "Gardening-Druzhba" of the Garage Museum's Field Studies program.

The film focuses on the tragic events of the artist's family history that shaped her interest in private female practices of working the land. Grotova considers gardening and horticulture as one of the ways to resist totalitarian pressure in the USSR.

In the 1930s, thousands of foreigners who had come to work in the USSR became victims of the Great Terror. Their wives, sisters, mothers and children, as well as relatives of "renegades" and "enemies of the people", were sent to ALZHIR (Akmola camp for wives of renegades) - a camp of the Gulag system in the Kazakh SSR (now the Republic of Kazakhstan). So among the prisoners of the camp were Klavdia and Marina, Grotova's great-grandmother and grandmother.

Having lost their husbands and fathers, faced with the conditions of camp life and hard agricultural labor, the women planted a garden, maintained and guarded it throughout the camp years. Using their knowledge of agriculture and plants to develop an irrigation system on their own, they nurtured life in the desert landscape. The garden became a space of personal effort, born out of friendship and cooperation rather than terror, and provided the extra food needed to survive.

Upon returning from ALJIR, Claudia and Marina, like many other women who had passed through the camps, acquired a plot in a gardening community, where they planted plants, cultivated the land, and exchanged seeds and tools with their neighbors, continuing the practice of mutual aid and sharing resources. Their garden time flowed in isolation from the larger narratives, synchronizing with the lunar cycles and the lives of the gardeners themselves.

Olga Grotova's project Gardening-Druzhba, in which she explores women's gardening practices as a means of resistance to oppression and addresses themes of the consequences of Soviet colonialism and mutual aid as an alternative to state and market control, originates in the artist's family history. In the context of the struggles of women and other marginalized groups for their rights, gardens can be not only a metaphor but also a tool for self-expression and liberation.

The film will be presented by Olga Grotova. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the author.

The film is shown in Russian with Russian subtitles. The event is accessible to deaf and hard of hearing visitors.