Cross the Woods – Aleksandra Kononchenko

Cross the Woods
Aleksandra Kononchenko – visuals
Katsiaryna Zhynhiarouskaya – sound

My project is dedicated to the situation on the Belarus-Poland border.
Civilians fleeing conflicts in Syria and Iraq have been trapped in a forested border region and require humanitarian and medical assistance. This situation began to escalate in November 2021 till now.
Groups of Syrian and Iraqi refugees remain stuck in limbo where they can neither get to Poland nor return to Belarus. The Belarusian border guards were holding them. Sometimes they were pushed to attack Polish border guards and run through the border.
Sometimes they had to jump into the river and swim or escape to the endless forest, get lost and sometimes die.
They have never seen the woods, and now they have to survive there.
I was very distressed by the incident between Belarus and Poland when a 19 years old Syrian man tried to cross the cold river (in November) to get to the EU, but he froze and drowned.
Then Poland started to build a fence on the border, which also negatively affected animal migration.
So I decided to make and collect some artifacts dedicated to this situation and grow salt crystals on them. Salt is what our tears contain. And the more you pour salt on the wound, the more it hurts.
The project includes a series of still-life photos, video projection and some objects.
The audio was made by musician Katsiaryna Zhynhiarouskaya. It was inspired by a very famous Belarussian song about Bialowieza Forest where a lot of refugees were lost recently.