Valera and Natasha Cherkashin



Solving a polical problem in an artistic way.

Before coming to Japan, we heard a lot about the problem of the four northern islands. Political leaders are trying to find some solutions and have made some steps already toward solving some problems, for example, entry without a visa.
Being artists, we made our distinctive contribution towards finding a solution to this problem in the form of art, without politics. We decided give back our personal symbolical part of this debt to Japanese people, so we've brought 1.5 kg of stones from Russia and are going to make an "action of returning" of our part of land to Japan.
We created this artistic performance in the ODaiba area (Ariake) near the shore, where new land has been created by filling in the sea. There we plan to put the stones we brought from Russia in the shape of the four islands. In creating this work of art, we hope that, in the future, this will become a place where every Russian visitor to Japan can bring his or her own, personal symbolical contribution of stones or pebbles.
Later, when enough material has been accumulated from Russian visitors, we hope to return and to create small models of these islands (several meters in size), in the water, as a remembrance of a historical situation that, we hope, will have been.

In the morning of October 17, 1999 there was a publication about this performance in "Sankei Shimbun" by Yasuo Naito. Several days before there also was a publication in "Asahi Evening News"by Monty Di Pietro. (Some material about us was published in "Yomiuri Shimbun" by Kioji Maeda but not about "Stone project") Several Japanese people joined us and our friends after these publications.
One of them, Mr.Yoshihiro Sugiyama 12 years ago, when he was 60, ran across Japan from the South to the North several thousand kilometers and at the boarder with Russia on the shore he cried: "Russians give us our Islands back!!!" But as you may guess nobody replied him. After that he hated all Russians and was sure that they all think the same way. He was very excited when he found us at the shore and told us this story.
After returning our part of the land, we suggested Japanese people to sign the Peace Agreement personally with us . (You may know that still there is no Peace Agreement between Russia and Japan after the world War II because of this problem). Finally we had some Champaign for the established Peace and collaboration. After that we all went home with the feeling of fulfilled mission.

Trip was sponsored by Japan Foundation




An enlarged map of Northen Islands with stones from Moscow inside the holes.

Cherkasshins added some stones which were left into the water of Tokyo Bay to make Japanese land a little bit larger





Underwater Performances

Than  this "map" was removed and stones in the shape of Northen Islands were left on a rock. They were sprayed with gold spray.

After solwing this problem Cherkashins signed a personal "Peace Agreement"  with some Japanese people.

Mr. Yoshihiro Sugiyama and Cherkashins with a "Peace Agreement".

This performance was video taped by Masami Suzuki.


One Step Towards Each Other.

You can see from maps of Japan that the nearest point to Russia (Sakhalin) is Cape Soya (Hokkaido). Thanks to an invitation from Wakkanai University and Professor Masami Suzuki, the Cherkashins had chance to continue the idea of developing relations between our countries and rapprochement of Russia and Japan with the help of art.
They've made a real step towards it. They've added some stones at the northern point of Japan, put them in the water in the direction of Russia, and made our two countries one step closer to each other. Both Russian and Japanese citizens helped the Cherkashins  very actively.

Collaboration of Russian and Japanese people.
Cape Soya, Hokkaido. 2000.

Rapprochement of Russia and Japan.
Cape Soya, Hokkaido. 2000.

Putting stones in the water in the direction of Russia.
Cape Soya, Hokkaido. 2000.