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Varvara Degtiarenko is a multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker primarily working in documentary and experimental film. She is a graduate of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow, Russia (2013) and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia (2011). She focused on art conservation early in her career before shifting to filmmaking in 2013. She has worked in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and the Netherlands, including at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, the State Research Institute for Restoration and Strelka Institute in Moscow, and Motel Spatie in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

Degtiarenko approaches projects with a conservator’s eye towards preserving subjects’ essence, viewing conservation from an activist philosophy to explore themes of historical memory, inclusion, or identity. Notable films include CONSERVATION OF A THAI FAN (2015), HYBRID WAR (2016), and BARBARA’S GAME (2017). She has a particular interest in the stories of the Eastern European diaspora. 

In New Orleans, Degtiarenko directed IN MEMORY OF AZIZ (2019) and EXTENDED + BRAD WALKER: LIVE FROM ESPLANADE STUDIOS (2021), and produced the shorts GOOD FAMILY (2019) and YOUR PIZZA IS OUTSIDE (2019). She films with performing musicians and visual artists, exploring narratives within the realm of music and artistic process. 

She is currently developing the documentaries SONYA, about art conservation as activism in Russia,  THE MISSION, a dance-documentary about embodied emotion and jazz as an analogy for the structure of the expanding universe, and the short documentary THE ONLY BANYA THIS FAR SOUTH, which follows two young men from Eastern Europe as they build the perfect Russian-style bathhouse in their shared yard in New Orleans.

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