Interview with Anastasia Sokolovskaya

We’ve spoken to a Minsk-based illustrator Stasia Sokolovskaya who creates visuals for children’s’ books and some books of Belorussian authors. Stasia’s works got included in the international illustration catalogue the Fantastic Illustrations.

In the framework of ARTIФ Stasia worked on the concept of an app for those experiencing domestic violence in rural Kyrgyzstan in collaboration with a local women’s rights activist. Read about her experience in this interview!

Hello, Anastasia! Is there any project of yours that is particularly important to you?

All my projects are important for me. Perhaps, the most important one is my series of illustrations for a children book; it gave me direction for my further development as an illustrator.

You are working with social issues within your art-projects. What brought you to these topics? Why are these important to you? 

I can’t say that I often refer to social issues, all my art-projects are rather connected with my emotions and feelings. I have started working with social topics just recently, trying my best to make a good use of my skills. Some positive experiences made me believe that I could contribute to bringing about a positive change, so I am glad I can work with social topics as well. This kind of work helps me to leave my comfort zone and broaden my experience. 

Within ARTIФ project you have been collaborating with a human rights defender from Kyrgyzstan. What did you find important in this collaboration? What challenges did you face? 

It was very important for me to get acquainted with Anna and to learn about lives of women in Kyrgyzstan, what’s happening in this other world. Communicating with a person who is working and living in such a different environment helps me to broaden my perspective. The hardest thing was to fit in the project. I felt that I might lack experience. I am an illustrator and I mostly work with books, visualising written texts. The project we worked on with Anna concerned a complex topic (ed. violence against women in Kyrgyzstan), the task was different from what I’d usually deal with. So I had to find those skills and knowledge that I could apply, that could help going forward with solving the issue.

How familiar you were with the issue of domestic violence before taking part in ARTIФ? How hard or easy for you was it to immerse yourself in this context? 

It was rather easy, as I was familiar with the topic of domestic violence in Kyrgyzstan before: I read sources that cover this issue. Also my husband is from Kyrgyzstan, I have been there and therefore I am familiar with the context and cultural and social particularities. 

What impression did you get from taking part in ARTIФ?

It was wonderful, plenty of interesting artists and activists who look at the world from a different perspective. It was exciting to see how various issues could be solved through art. It’s a pity we couldn’t meet in person due to the quarantine.