In summer 2018, the SASHAPASHA duo joined a folklore expedition to the Arkhangelsk region of Russia, organised by Saint Petersburg State University and the non-profit organization “The Propp Centre for Humanities-based research in the Sphere of Traditional Culture”. In the village of Sovpolye, they found an unusual-looking bathhouse that had served as the home of Valentina Kozinets, an outsider artist who died in 2016. There were lots of paintings and notebooks inside the home, and the members of the expedition found out that the works were doomed to be thrown away. Wanting to preserve the artist's heritage, they took the finds with them.
As part of the project, the artists are raising a whole range of questions about anthropological and folkloric research, copyright and appropriation, inheritance of personal and public property, and personal and public memory. The main goal is to give a voice to an outsider artist whose art was not appreciated by society and to use the exhibitions and duo’s artistic name as a platform for that.
Preservation of authorship, however, does not prevent artists from using the finds with a certain degree of freedom. Every object retains a memory. This memory could be saved and protected or left abandoned on the sidelines. The artists’ role is to notice and to pick up this memory, and to find the right context and place for it.