The project looks at the drag community in Novosibirsk and examines the hidden relationship between fear and joy -
something that is deeply embedded within the Russian condition.

In this joy, there is a darker reality and often the truth must be hidden in this world and “joy” can only be expressed
through beauty - one has to place him/herself within the system. That, in a lot of cases, is based on oppression
and boundaries.
The theme of oppression vs exhibition is constantly present in those systems of order. Joy itself becomes a form
of repression, there are moments of freedom in the constructed safe space, but they can only be obtained and
permitted behind the masks of beauty and entertainment.

Beauty within a Russian context allows for certain freedoms from the norm.

You must fit in the central mass of these systems unless you have power, money or beauty. In this way, beauty can
become your safety net. You can perform in the full drag for hundreds of people at the concert, but you can’t hold
hand with your partner in public.

I saw a community happy with the ability to perform their art, but trapped by the reality that this form is the only place
where they can touch on their true self. In the country, unsure of its own reality and fearful to discover the boundaries,
many struggle to be themselves.

@Maria Babikova2024