The Art of Brown Soil is a transmedia project dedicated to the life and works of the Greece-born Soviet underground writer Lesaserma Pokhunakhis.
A daughter of a left-wing university professor, Pokhunakhis joined the Greek resistance as a youth and later was forced to seek refuge in USSR. Fallen victim to one of the last waves of Stalin’s repressions, the writer spent several years in labor camps before disappearing during a transfer in Siberian woods, where she wandered on foot for two more years.
Pokhunakhis spent most of her life in Yerbogachen village, where she got to apprentice under an Evenki shaman, create an authentic naïve version of Arte Povera, start the first siberan lesbian family with a local postwoman Antonina Ouvachan and become an object of worship for a local cult.
However, the writer’s opus magnum was her book The Brown Soil that she wrote throughout her life. Split into four volumes of different genres, The Brown Soil encompasses thousands upon thousands of pages of epic and lyric poetry, mystic revelations and aphorisms that reflect all the stages of Pokhunakhis’ incredible life and creative career. Her writings, having never been published, were uncovered by accident by a group of Irkutsk scholars in early 2000s.