- Name: Mirra Markhaëva
- Illustrator / Siberian Indigenous activist
- Pronouns: she/her
- Age: 30
- Location: Brussels
- Instagram: @mirra_markhaeva
What do you care most about, and how is it relevant to your art/practice? It could be a social issue, your community, yourself, or anything!
My mom, she's keeping me alive. She's all over my art.
Three words that come to mind when you hear the term ‘care’?
Reaching out, listening, curiosity.
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What inspires you to care more for others, or to use your art/practice as a platform to do so?
The need to be meaningfully connected.
How do you hope to inspire others?
In a way that makes them love themselves.
What type of change do you want to inspire in your community/environment?
My community needs more f*cking money.
How much influence do you think (y)our backgrounds have on (y)our art and practices?
A lot :)
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What are some challenges that you face while doing what you are passionate about?
Being undocumented, depression and health problems.
How do you define ‘community’?
Kinship, shared struggles, chosen family, tribe.
What is a ‘safe space’ for you?
Arguably no space is safe, but the most comfortable is the one where people from my community are.
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Is receiving care a privilege, a right?
It’s a physiological and psychological need, thus it is a basic human right.
Do you think this generation is redefining care and community building? And how?
Hopefully, new generations are seeing the harm of capitalistic individualism, I see more awareness about full-time jobs and more attention to mental health. Not sure about community building though, better ask the Indigenous people of the older generation for this.
What small acts of care do you hope to see more of?
Ask regularly ‘Is there anything that has been bothering you (in our relationship)?’ ‘Did I ever hurt you in some way?’ ‘Do you need help for something you struggle with?’. It's difficult to set up boundaries and find the right moment to talk about difficult stuff, so be welcoming, and create space for that.
How do you balance taking care of others and taking care of yourself? Do you make that distinction in the first place?
Ideally, both go hand in hand, cause nothing helps me more than knowing I made someone feel better (hi fellow people-pleasers). But if somebody's need is consuming me I only have to listen to my body and my feelings - they are here to signal me when something's going wrong.
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Do you care about being cared about?
Hell yeah. If I'm not cared for I probably will be out of the picture soon.
What do you want to be remembered for?
For how I transformed my dear people's lives.
<div class="editorial-banner"> <div class=“editorial-credits”> Photos by Mirra Markhaëva </div></div>