New East Digital Archive

WTF is Belarus? Meet the new street art project calling out international ignorance

14 September 2018

When Belarusian artist Natalie Reyne went travelling the United States, she didn’t expect to end up answering the same questions again and again. Every time she introduced herself as a tourist from Belarus, she would get the same confused faces and the same question: “but where is that?”

Her experiences in the US provided the inspiration for #WTFISBELARUS: a Minsk-based street art project of posters that lampoon foreigners’ misconceptions and assumptions about the European nation of 10 million that is sandwiched between Russia and Poland.

Reyne maintains the project doesn’t intend to offend, nor make a political statement. “I can’t name all of the countries in Africa or South America, and I always mix up Slovakia and Slovenia,” she admits. Instead, she wants the project to stand as a humorous take on real life experience.

“Yes, we are a small and unknown country. We can either suffer and complain about it (like some of us love to do), or we can simply laugh and explain to yet another foreigner that no, we are not Russia and no, we are not in Africa, but we are in Europe itself. We have our own language, culture and character.”