Traveling across Wales - a territory in Great Britain, whose people have been struggling for their identity ever since they lost their independence in the Middle Ages - Russian artist Jana Romanova experimented with her own identity and tried to become Welsh, following advice from local people.
«In a short movie by Claire Denis “Vers Nancy” French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy suggests that the existence of the other - the foreigner - can be considered as a condition to our group identity. It gives us the possibility to feel a bond with our “friends”, our circle, thus meeting a stranger actualizes the identity of the community, our sense of belonging to a particular group of people.
I’ve always been interested in how these kind of mechanisms work on a national level. Taking into account contemporary situation in the world and especially in Russia, where the search for national identity has become a very big issue during the last couple of years. This search made a lot of people reconsider their political position and lead to a lot of arguments also inside families. It even pushed some people, who don’t accept the new course of things, to try immigrating to another country in order to receive a new collective identity to be accepted by.
Being Russian - a foreigner in Wales - I started a series of one-to-one conversations with different people who consider themselves Welsh, asking them to describe what it is to be a “Welsh person”, and what is “Welsh identity”. In the end I asked them if they thought I could also become Welsh.