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Gorilla Review | Inside Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot’s reputation is one of global significance, of anarchy, freedom of expression, feminism of the highest order and of course, tenacious protest. This made for mild feelings of trepidation as I approached the Saatchi Gallery to experience “Inside Pussy Riot, an immersive, theatrical punk production”.

Before entering the experience, I had an opportunity to view the related exhibition, Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism. Curated by Marat Guelman, this is the fourth project organised by the Tsukanov Family Foundation in partnership with the Saatchi Gallery and featured work by Oleg Kulik, Pyotr Pavlensky, and Pussy Riot. A fiercely inspiring exhibition, communicating a struggle against the oppression of rights and ideas, a fight that is still going on all around the world. As global citizens, this is an important exhibition for us all to see.

The experience itself is one I won’t forget for quite some time. At first, I wasn’t overly enamoured, however, as the experience went on, I got it. The sets were all incredible, with a level of detail a Virgo can truly appreciate. There were moments I felt totally uncomfortable, not in an introvert surrounded by extroverts uncomfortable, much more than that, a deep sense of things not being right, in any way what-so-ever.

It felt as though I was on the set of Terry Gillingham’s Brazil. Everything beautiful in a ruined and disheveled kind of way, each room was plastered with communist propaganda style posters and/or instructions on how to behave (love!).

The actors (all female, obviously) were savage with the kind of authority usually reserved only for white men in power. Callous and casual destruction of individuality, bullying and group punishments were dolled out through the excellently satirical performances. The plight of Russian prisoners, the farcical situation of conditions and their terrible treatment, highlighted through humour left me feeling uneasy, yet passionate. Something needs to be done, I need to do something, we need to do something. I was left with some tasks, outlined below so you can join in with the homework too, if you wish…

Write – To your MP with issues you’re passionate about, engage them in a debate.

Sign –  A petition, or make your own.

Protest – Stand up and be counted.

Organise – Keep the conversations going, protest, demonstrate, fundraise.

Vote – Exercising your right to vote shows government bodies that you are watching, and that your vote counts.

Spend – Contribute to the change you want to happen with your spending power.

Speak – You have a voice, use it. Be willing and empowered to speak up wherever you see the opportunity to do so.

Listen – Think about the ways you can platform the voices of those less represented in important discussions. Find ways to mobilise your power to help those who have less liberty to do so.

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