An art expo at Monaco’s Espace 22 gallery, located at 24 blvd. d’Italie, showcases the art of several Belarusian artists at a time when Belarus and the murderous activities of its regime are very much at the forefront of the news.

The colours red and white appear as a frequent motif in the exhibition. They are also emblematic of the protest movement in Belarus.

More than a year ago the east European state was convulsed with protests after strongman Alexander Lukaschenko insisted he had won a presidential election in the face of overwhelming evidence that he had lost.

The last few days have tarnished the country’s image even further, with the suspected murder of a prominent Belarusian activist in Kyiv – disguised as a suicide – and the high-profile defection of Olympic sprinter Krystina Tsimanouskaya.

The 24 year-old athlete was told she must return to Minsk after criticising her team officials. Ominously, she was told that opposing the state often ended in suicides.

Her family urged her to not return home and she has since been given asylum in Poland. Her husband fled to Ukraine and will join her.

To what extent the exhibition is a reflection of the regime’s attempt to normalise its image or an understated criticism of the current state of affairs in the beleaguered country remains an open question. Quite simply, it may be neither.

Bairstow Monaco Consulting participated in organising ‘Belarus: History Through Art.’

For those who would like to attend the expo at Espace 22, more information:

Readers might also like to consult the English-language version of the official Belarus news agency, Belta. Several articles attempt to smear its western neighbours for mistreating migrants, when in fact the Belarus authorities are encouraging and enabling migrants to reach and cross the border with Lithuania in an attempt to destabilise the Baltic state.

ILLUSTRATION: How a suburb of Minsk might look in 2050, by visuuu (detail)