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Belarusian Artist Embroiders Her Country's Historic Protests

Rufina Bazlova uses traditional Belarusian embroidery in nontraditional ways.

Part of a series in which leader Alexander Lukashenko is transformed into a cockroach. rufinabazlova / Instagram

Rufina Bazlova is a Belarusian artist who has lived in the Czech Republic for 12 years. She is an illustrator and theater scenographer who has responded to events in her homeland through the medium of embroidery.

She said that the embroidery is a kind of "code" for the country's history, with red as the symbol for life.

The original flag of the Democratic Republic of Belarus in 1918 was red and white, but the Soviet-era flag and today's post-Soviet flag is green and red with some traditional Belarusian ornamentation. The red and white colors and flag have been adopted by protesters opposing President Alexander Lukashenko's re-election.

On Aug. 10 the first casualty was a young man who, according to authorities, was holding a home-made bomb that exploded in his hand. Other witnesses say he was hit by a stun grenade lobbed by the police to disperse the crowd of protesters.  

A police van runs over a person while protesters, below, stand off against police, above. 

In this series women join together after the election and Lukashenko is depicted as a dead cockroach and a pile of excrement. In the run-up to Belarus' Aug. 9 election, the opposition has referred to Lukashenko as a cockroach.

"Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is my president"

Protesters and police clash. 

A demonstration of Belarusians held in Prague on Aug. 9.

The transformation of a leader into a cockroach.

Bazlova said that although she works in different media, "this year's national awakening simply demanded this technique of national embroidery. The events of the past months represent a portion of our great history, Belarus changed, woke up, big changes are coming that must be written into the code of embroidery."

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