Tasha Arlova
Dried Blueberries in My Pocket

Tasha Arlova

Graphic Design 
Daria Akhrameika

Gerrit Rietveld Academie

In “Dried Blueberries in My Pocket,” Tasha Arlova looks at her homeland, Belarus, and explores different ways in which the country is represented in the "West", its national identity is shaped, and its past is commemorated. Acknowledging that histories are never written without a specific purpose and always from a particular standpoint, she revisits common notions of the “West” and the “East”, of dictatorship and democracy, of identity and nationality. With each page, Tasha’s voice grows more confident, giving us insight into a process of empowerment – both her own and that of a generation which sparked the Belarusian protests in 2020 Not afraid to confront big social and political questions, the text is a powerful account of what it means to grapple with the histories that shape us and to reclaim agency. Or in Tasha’s own words: “Dictatorship doesn’t speak about people but about circumstances in which they live and fight.” Poetic at times, but always crystal clear, I am delighted to nominate this beautiful and timely text for the thesis price of 2021.

Dorine van Meel