Rufina Bazlova

Rufina Bazlova (1990, Grodno) is a Prague-based Belarusian artist who works in illustration, social artwork, scenography, and performance. Rufina gained an international profile for her series The History of Belarusian Vyzhyvanka, which uses the traditional folk embroidery medium to depict peaceful protests in Belarus. The artist is also known as the author of the fully embroidered comic Zhenokol (Feminnature), which explores the theme of feminism present in folk traditions. Bazlova got a Master’s degree in illustration (FDU LS, ZČU. 2015) and a second bachelor’s degree in stage design (KALD, DAMU. 2020).

Sofia Tocar (1990, Moldova) graduated from Charles University in Prague, where she successfully finished a Master’s of History of Art and Architecture. During her studies, she worked as a program assistant at the Centre for Contemporary Art Futura and as a guide at the Lobkowicz Collections. Sofia then became part of the Prague Civil Society Centre, where she coordinated visual communication projects and events in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. During the last few years, Sofia has actively worked in the documentary film industry, and has curated activist projects and exhibitions.

Embroidery, 2021

Stitchit is an art group created in 2021 by visual artist Rufina Bazlova and curator Sofia Tocar. Together they work on socio-political issues, using the traditional technique of embroidery as a tool of resistance and dialogue. Stitchit involves different communities and individuals in the creation process and blurs the lines of authorship.
The number of officially recognized political prisoners in Belarus currently reaches more than 1000 people. The works tell the story of each wrongfully convicted citizen, creating their portraits by using the traditional Belarusian technique of embroidery with red thread on a white background. The process of embroidery is a long and meditative experience, allowing one to concentrate on the thoughts and feelings of a particular arrestee, working in silence.
The embroidered works present a short account of these arrests, with the folk name of the offense at the top. Those who decide to take part register via, then receive patterns and instructions for the embroidery, the address of the prison where the person is being held, and information about the websites through which the convicted can be supported. The project aims to highlight that joint action is the key to freedom, and its final form will be a collective quilt of all the embroidered portraits, which will be a tangible symbol of the intertwining of political events and human destinies.