Two women wave an old Belarusian national flag during opposition rally in the centre of Minsk, Belarus on August 16, 2020 [AP/Dmitri Lovetsky] [Daylife]

The woman in a black dress with a piercing stare folds her arms in defiance. “Eva”, the painting by Franco-Belarusian artist Chaim Soutine, once proudly hung in the gallery of Belarus’s Belgazprombank until its head Viktar Babaryka announced his candidacy for president.

Shortly after, Babaryka was detained on trumped-up charges, thrown in jail and the bank’s artworks, Eva included, seized and removed from public view. Far from being forgotten, Eva’s captivity has become a powerful emblem for the women driving the popular uprising against President Alexander Lukashenko’s tyrannical reign.

Memes of Eva behind bars and being manhandled by riot

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