During our trip to the White Sea-Baltic Canal in Karelia, we frequently came across sculptural swans, carved from car tires. Rubber swans appear as post-industrial echoes of folk tales depicting the swan; a sacred bird and an integral part of local folklore. They can be found throughout Russia, from Karelia to the Far East.

Countless tires filling the courtyards and streets fell into the hands of the inhabitants. In some places “ramparts” are erected to divide the car park; rows of flower beds and garden sculptures, not only swans, but also cheburashkas, tumblers and more.


Car tires are not secure and passive anymore, after the Ukranian Maidan of 2014. It became a fuel for revolution. Metaphorically speaking, the city of Vladivostok is filled with makeshift explosives, made from the material. In contrast, an attempt to channel this energy through peaceful means has been made through the making of car tire folk sculptures.