EXILES, PROTESTERS, ENVOYS: RUSSIAN HISTORY IN PHOTOGRAPHS
This exhibition traces the history of Russian immigration to Los Angeles from the early 1900s to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. In doing so, it focuses on the following three categories: EXILES, PROTESTERS, and ENVOYS, both cultural and political.
EXILES includes diverse groups of migrants, from the Russian sectarian settlement in Boyle Heights in the 1900s and the White Emigre colony in Hollywood established in the 1920s to the Refuseniks who began arriving in Los Angeles in 1971. PROTESTERS brings to the fore the intersectional LA-based groups that spoke out against Soviet power: American activists, as well as people of Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Korean, Armenian, Afghan, and Jewish heritage. ENVOYS focuses on the role of cultural and political diplomacy in the history of Los Angeles. During the escalation years of the Cold War, when no cultural contact seemed possible, there were individuals, groups, and delegations that facilitated understanding between the two countries. These themes of exilic identity, protests, and diplomacy speak volumes about our own context and time.
Holding this exhibition in Plummer Park harbors special meaning. The park, which dates back to 1874 when the land was acquired by Eugenio Plummer, was purchased by the City of Los Angeles in 1937. Located in the heart of West Hollywood’s Russian community, Plummer Park has been a contact zone for immigrants of several waves and symbolizes the transience of time. The multicultural community surrounding the park embodies the values of diversity, intersectionality, and inclusiveness.
The Russian immigration to Los Angeles is entering its museification stage. This exhibition was created with the support of the Russian Advisory Board and the City of West Hollywood and features images from five different archival collections: The Library of Congress, Los Angeles Public Library, UCLA, USC, and The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The timeline for the Russian community of Los Angeles was imagined and developed by historian Ivan Podvalov.Please, refer to the following link for up-to-date information about the exhibition: http://russianlosangeles.org
Sasha Razor – Curator
Gala Minasova – Co-Curator and Archival Producer
Eya Ozerova – Guest Artist and Installation Specialist
Ivan Podvalov – Historical Researcher