Maria Huhmarniemi & Ekaterina Sharova

The Voice of Artists exhibition was shown in an art gallery in Lapland, Finland, as a statement to consider artists’ societal and political roles as opposition to centralised power. At the same time, many Western organisations banned Russian cultural and academic collaboration due to the Russian invasion in Ukraine in the spring of 2022. This article discusses the Voice of Artists exhibition project and considers the possibilities, ethics and obstacles for non-governmental art associations when collaborating with Russian artists in the Arctic region. The study is a continuation of arts-based action research to foster sustainability through international collaborations in arts and education. The theoretical background of the article is based on studies on critical and political contemporary art in Russia, colonial relations in Russia and art history when national romanticism endorsed and appropriated the North and the Arctic region. Power structures in Russian culture are Moscow-centred, and there is a need to decolonise and strengthen regional structures in arts and culture organisations, foundations and policies. Human-to-human contact without interference from the state seems fruitful in providing new dialogue and new knowledge.

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