Inna’s Dream at Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show

Varvara Keidan Shavrova, Inna’s Dream, 2019, hand tufted Axminster wool carpet objects, hessian canvas backing, thread. Dimensions of carpet 7 metres by 5.5 metres
Inna’s Dream 
Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show

Imperial War Museum Duxford
Historic Zone, Duxford, Cambridge CB22 4QR
Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September: 08.00h – 18.00hA contemporary art installation by Russian artist Varvara KeidanShavrova lands at the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show commemorating the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Britain.Tickets:
Inna’s Dream is a contemporary art project created by visual artist Varvara Keidan Shavrova that reinterprets the first Soviet amphibious airplane Sh-2 as a site-specific textile and carpet installation for the 81st anniversary Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show

Inna’s Dream reimagines the first Soviet amphibious Sh-2 airplane designed by the artist’s great uncle Vadim Shavrov in his apartment in 1930s in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is presented as half-size version of Sh-2 plane, that has been entirely hand-tufted by the artist and made into an installation created from carpet. Shavrova is focusing on excavating the layers of her family history through the process of remembering, recalling, retracing and re-enacting stories, examining the symbols of power and authority whilst investigating their relationship to the individual.

By engaging memory, nostalgia and reflection, the site-specific Inna’s Dream installation at Duxford Air Show specifically reflects upon the contemporary aerospace industry and its links to conflict, subverted by this soft carpet version of the plane. The work is political and responds to the events that have influenced the course of history. This demilitarised, domesticated version of a deflated military machine echoes the collapsed Soviet dream. The infantile giant toy kit becomes symbolic of capitulated militarism that challenges symbols of masculinity and power while also commenting on women’s labour.

Presenting Inna’s Dream to new audiences at Duxford Air Show that commemorates the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Britain juxtaposes the materiality and tactility of the soft carpet installation with the historic planes participating in the show. This encourages the audiences to make connections between aviation, memory and personal histories.

The Air Show audiences are expected to look up, following the spectacular air displays in the sky. Shavrova’s project challenges this familiar approach to viewing planes and encourages the audience to literally look down on an airplane, and engage with a personal story in a tactile, direct and unfamiliar way. Inna’s Dream aims to soften the gaze of the spectator and to change the narrative from the spectacular to the intimate. Refocusing on the personal stories of the pilots, engineers and designers, Shavrova’s project highlights the ‘soft side’ of historic aviation.

Inna’s Dream at the Duxford Air Show is financially supported by the National Lottery, through Arts Council England.

Varvara Keidan Shavrova is a visual artist, curator, educator and researcher. Born in the USSR, she lives and works between London, Dublin and Berlin. She studied at the Moscow State University of Printing Arts, received her MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London (2019), and has been awarded Arts & Humanities Research Council Studentship by London Arts & Humanities Partnership, to conduct her practice-based PhD at the Royal College of Art in London. She has exhibited internationally, including at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014), Gallery of Photography Ireland (2012), Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2007), Espacio Cultural El Tanque, Tenerife (2011), Today Art Museum Beijing (2008) and Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery (2009). Shavrova curated international visual arts projects, including The Sea is the Limit at York Art Gallery (2018) and Virginia Commonwealth University, Qatar (2019), and co-curated Beijing Map Games: Dynamics of Change, an international art and architecture exhibition in Beijing (China), Birmingham (UK) and Terni (Italy). She is a recipient of Arts Council of England National Lottery Project Fund awards (2019-2020 and 2020-2021), Arts Council Ireland Visual Arts Bursary Award (2021) and the Prince’s Trust Individual Artist’s Award (1993), among others. Her work is included in a number of public and private collections worldwide, including the Department of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ireland, the Office of Public Works Dublin, the Ballinglen Arts Foundation County Mayo Ireland, and the Museum of the History of St.Petersburg Russia. Shavrova is represented by Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London.