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Wild Strawberries

“Wild Strawberries” (2020-2023)

The tart smell of strawberries warmed in the sun. The air is so warm that it is hard to breathe. Tram’s grinding on rails. The rustling of leaves. Blinded by gold through the squinting when the bus is flooded with the light of the evening sun.

Republic of Karelia (Russia)

What do we see in front of our eyes at critical moments in our lives? What do we remember?

Based on stories, literature and cinema, it is not our success, our achievements, the many things that have been accomplished that are in front of our eyes. No, it will be a picnic by the lake, the laughter of a child, happiness when you swing so hight on the swings that you can see the crowns of trees and the sky.

Aleksino, Leningrad Oblast (Russia)

At critical moments, when you are very shaken, most often you just try to “live”. Going onto the new impressions, trying to see as much as possible, trying out a lot of things. And you do it so fast, as you are trying to catch up a fast train. And quite successful, because you are getting a quite impressive list of “awards” and “achievements”.

My hospital room. Almazov National Medical Research Centre

But what a disappointment it is when, at that very moment, you realize that all you have in your memory are just lines of protocol where nothing but dry data – date, time, location, and action. No color, no taste, no smell. You have a lot of thoughtful beautiful pictures that you have been documenting, but they do not give you the right feeling.

That is when you get really scared. It turns out that you spent precious time not to live. You just blew past.

By stopping, giving yourself permission not to run by achievements, I started to fix the details of my life on my mobile phone, fragments of small, imperceptible miracles, moments of sadness and joy. I allowed myself not to bring the process to the perfection, not to try to do everything according to the rules and canons, not to try to do it beautifully and “as it should be”. I just listened to the sounds, felt on the skin, saw, smelled, breathed. Having enjoyed every moment, I made a memory card. These pieces make up a picture that I like much more than all my achievements and winnings.

My hospital room. Hospital No. 15
My hospital room. Almazov National Medical Research Centre
My home. Saint Petersburg
My home. Saint Petersburg
Republic of Karelia (Russia)
My home. Saint Petersburg. After the hospital
Sestroretsk, Leningrad Oblast (Russia)

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Leila Bogdanova-Babakulova

Leila Bogdanova-Babakulova (b.1994) is a visual artist and designer, based in Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Yerevan (Armenia). Works with the themes of memory, silence… More »

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