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Photo: Pussy Riot / Facebook.

Pussy Riot to Perform at National Theatre

The Russian protest and performance art group Pussy Riot will perform at Iceland’s National Theatre in November, RÚV reports.

Theatre director Magnús Geir Þórðarson said the piece will be part play, part art exhibition, and part concert, and is being staged in conjunction with the group’s first retrospective, which will also open in November at Reykjavík’s Kling & Bang exhibition space.

“This is, of course, a remarkable group that we all know and have followed in the media in recent years. This is a band and a performance art group, a political force, that came here in the spring and worked at the National Theatre to prepare a show that they’ve been touring around Europe this summer and which has been very well-received, with great reviews,” said Magnús Geir.

Co-founder disguised herself as a food courier to escape house arrest

Staunch critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin and feminists who have called for the liberation and equality of women and the LGBTQIA+ community, the members of Pussy Riot have endured significant political persecution. Three of the founding members served jail time for performing their “Punk Prayer” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, in protest of the Russian Orthodox Church’s close ties to Putin.

Placed under house arrest, co-founder Maria (Masha) Alyokhina disguised herself as a food courier and fled both her home and the country in May of this year. Having had her passport confiscated and been placed on Russia’s “Wanted” list, Alyokhina initially had trouble crossing the Russian border, but Deutsche Welle reports that with the help of Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson, she was “able to obtain European documents, allowing her to enter Lithuania.”

Ragnar has been an effusive supporter of the group and their work. “Pussy Riot’s performances are, without a doubt, some of the most important political art works of the 21st century,” he said. “If ever there were artists who gave everything for their art, it’s these badasses. The exhibition is centered around Masha’s story and her description of the hell that is Putin’s Russia.”

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