Russian in Portugal


BORN IN THE USSR, Poltava, Evgenia Emets is a multimedia artist and poet.  After earning an MFA from Saint Martin’s College of Art, London, she formed an arts collective to explore the art and science of visual sound. She traveled through the UK and Europe creating site-specific interactive performances and installations. A pivotal change occurred when she moved to Portugal in 2017- a year marked by destructive forest fires connected to monocultures. The resulting devastation motivated her to integrate ecological thinking into her art.  

Emets unites forest ecology, biodiversity and community through visual works, poetry, installation, performance, film, artist books and large scale ecological artworks. She explores ideas of complexity in biodiversity, forest language, plant and forest intelligence, perceptions of time, focusing on the shift from linear time to cyclical natural time, interconnectedness. 

Emets launched The Eternal Forest project in 2018 in Portugal at the art residency Raizvanguardia. The ongoing multidisciplinary art project’s intent is to create 1000 Eternal Forest Sanctuaries around the world that integrate art and ecology.  These biodiverse sanctuaries are to be supported and protected in perpetuity by local communities for 1000 years and beyond.

Eternal Forest is an invitation to reconsider our fundamental relationship with forests.  It invites the audience to consider how to transform the currently dominant “extractive” relationship.  It is urgent and critical to work together to preserve and rebuild biodiverse forest ecosystems.


EVERY BEING WITHIN my being has a reason to be. To be what they are. To express their own sovereignty through their own unrestricted flow. To fully express their presence, their time, their message through the language of their appearance, their beauty, their taste, our song, our dance, our growth.

We are beings co-emerging our lives. Tuned into our own cycles, each unique, and yet embedded into each other’s cycle. We are witnesses of evolution. What you describe in books as ultimate models – we are living it. You look at the painting of evolution as a phenomenon, object, construct, model. Yet we are participating in evolution all the time. We are expressing a way of seeing from within evolution.

FOREST CODEX, Ink, water on paper, 68×82 cm, 2018.

We do not observe the flow or think about it.  We are all these time-spaces in-between, linking the points, known to you as flowers, trees, meadows, mountains, rivers, insects, wind, light. 

Things you name separately, together are us. Mountain is wind, insects, flowers, trees – continuous mother space. 

Mountain is not river. Mountain is mountain. 

River is not mountain. River is river. 

Mountain has her song, taste, beauty. 

River has her time, message, presence. 

Yet, we know that without mountain, there is no river. Without river, there is no mountain. 

Wind unites them, creating a common dance, common song, common time of river-mountain-river-river-mountain-mountain-river-river-mountain-river. 

Inside river, there is always mountain essence. Inside mountain, there is always river essence. We feel this and thrive where the flow, bringing one into another, is present. Light flows into flower flows into insect flows through wind flows through meadow flows through river flows through trees flows through mountain flows through light flows through mountain flows through trees flows through river flows through meadow flows through wind flows into insect flows into flower flows into light.

We see beauty in everything moving towards unity, towards ever-present equilibrium and flow. 

We are the embodiment of complexity. We contemplate each other through each other’s eyes. We continue together to weave our song from the threads of songs. We continue together to co-express our beauty through the beauties of our growth and decay. 

‘We’ is how we usually speak about ourselves. 

We are the spirit of creativity.

ETERNAL FOREST artist’s book, ink, vintage paper, hand binding, 6 copies, handmade, 2019.

Patterns of interdependent living have existed since impossible beginnings. Patterns of interdependent living are changing all the time, reciprocally following natural flow. 

A pattern is constant in its structure, yet given the multidimensional spectrum of time, it appears different. Appearing different at different timescales yet interconnecting all of them in the patterns of interdependent living that you call lifeforms. Lifeforms are life formings, formations. Seeming less random to you than the formations of clouds. There is no formula. There is self-organising reciprocal flow. We want to reestablish this flow where it has been disrupted. We want each of us to express our sovereignty through our beauty and presence. ‘Time in itself is creative within its structure in all different spectrums of being.’ 

This message came directly from one of the future Eternal Forest Sanctuaries and the land that has the dream of it, 2021.


I PLANT THE WORD, 4 panels each 68×82 cm, total dimension 170×140 cm with frames, Ink, water on paper, 2018

FIRST, WE CAME OUT we came out of sacred space and time. Outside of it. Exited. We separated. 

We partitioned sacred space, cut it into many parts. Some parts we don’t consider sacred anymore. We do things there that we could not do in sacred space, because we were together with it, within it, one with it. We found that we could treat elements of space as distinct with their qualities and with a specific purpose. We also found that we can reconstruct, resynthesise, these elements into structures and create new spaces for ourselves. 

We still attend our sacred space outside of new spaces.  We give it special meaning and a special time. We adorn it, treasure it, guard it, while it holds the memory of wholeness for us. 

We enjoy our new spaces more and more.  We make new, more complex, more exquisite new spaces. We need more space for experimentation, so we cut off more space from sacred space. 

Those of us who see where it is going, conceal the sacred space within structures, within new spaces we create so we feel sacred space is always there, in our domestic realm, within short reach. The sacred space is caged in structures we create so elaborately. These structures become more sacred than the sacred space itself. 

Our sacred time, our continuity of sacred space is divided meticulously into new chunks of time, and we start to watch time. Sell time, buy time and value new times more than sacred time. Those of us who see where it is going, give sacred time a special place so we can live it together or alone – in an organised manner. One day a week. Our new structures increasingly demand attention, and we give them more and more time and space. We run out of time to attend sacred space in sacred time. 

It shrinks to the smallest point. We do not remember any more where it is. We cannot find it. That point still guards our memory, but we have no way of accessing it, no capacity, no will. 

What was visible became invisible. What was invisible we made tangible. We are in time out of sacred time. We are in space out of sacred space. If only we could unfold sacred space out of one point. But where is this point? And where do we start?

I start where I begin. I cut back my time and space and leave it to be, rest, recover, dream. I leave it on, recording, remembering, resetting. I leave it on. I leave it to be. Release it. Release it. 

One day it takes me in and lets me be – rest, recover, dream. I leave myself remembering, responding, recreating. Sacred space restores itself through sacred time. 

It asks me to find a structure so that I can also bring you here. Simple, non-complicated structure, so that we can enter once again. We also have to give up time and space for sacred space and sacred time. The structure becomes sacred work. My sacred work is the sacred structure of the forest. Within it, we can merge sacred space and time. Forest is outside of our time and space. The last structures standing, left open with a trace of memory, for us to do the sacred work. Simple, yet complex, self-organising, yet requiring our attention and imagination, surrender and patience. 

I go to the forest and see, hear, smell, feel nothing. I see one tree, I see another tree and one more distantly.  I lie down. It takes me in, inside the open vaulted rotten trunk, the one I passed by every time. In emptiness, I stay, out of any time, out of any space. Between sacred space and space, between sacred time and time. Witness everything that cannot be named. There, where it cannot be named. As the sacred time expands its pores, sacred space is released. The point in the human heart – it has always been there. From that point memory recovers and reopens the sacred space. 

(Part of series of poetry and texts written originally for Eternal Forest Manifesto, 2019)

Eternal Forest Manifesto


ETERNAL FOREST MANIFESTO, Ink on cotton fabric, wood and metal fixing, 57 x 2200 cm, Unique, 2019.

I AM TELLING YOU, all 1000 of my sanctuaries already exist. On the map, drawn by you, all of you. 

I come back to you again and again through your dreams, rewilded day after day. I am counting your days backwards, down to the moment when you are dreaming of me for the first time as a sacred tree. 

…A dream is born

A seed of sacred tree 

A tree of all seeds

A tree of sacred forest

A tree

With 3 visible paths


In its body

A tree

With 7 visible notches

To hold the bow

A slender bow

For a human hand

To reach 

Invisible roots

A tree

With roots

In invisible worlds

To receive the gift

Of impossible time







Before history 

Before territory

Before time…

I sound back to you through the language that is familiar to you, word after word unweaving the pattern until you only hold a ball of thread and the presence of the pattern of my sanctuary. 

I shine back at you through the teaching of living soil and her birthing forest inviting beings bringing in light.

ETERNAL FOREST SANCTUARY MAP, Ink on paper, 60×70 cm, 100 handwritten copies, 2019.

I wind back to you through the path you choose to take through me. I make the path for you to enter my wilderness, your home. There are 10,000 different ways you can enter the forest.

And one way you can not enter. Because I surround you already. I am even inside you. You may have forgotten already. But I mothered you when you came from water, from light. 

I nourished you day after day with the help of the ones who eat light, and the ones who eat the ones who eat light, and even the ones who eat the ones who eat the ones who eat light.

I dressed you in all possible colours of our mutual imagination. Put together all the names of all colours of all your cultures and more colours will be unnamed. 

I sheltered you from my own being, my wild expressions, that you call weather, in caves, huts, tents, palaces, castles, churches and even deeper inside of me between your dreamings. 

I offered you sacred fire so that you always return to the circle.

I forward back to you my invitation of becoming home to light the sacred fire of the circle.

ETERNAL FOREST ART EXPERIENCE, Bienal de Coruche, Herdade dos Concelhos, 2019.

Each and every one of you is initiated with a heartbeat that responds inside of you to my invitation right now while reading this. Invoking sacred space and time. Dreaming together. You find that path. 

Where do you end, 
Where do I begin?

Think of me as 

The wild ones 
In their dens

The bitter medicine
Of our roots

The shared language
Of our truth

The common lineage 
Of our kin

The daring ripeness
Of our will

The sentient beauty 
Of our laws

The peaceful weaver
Of our worlds

The ancient pollen
Of our being

The timeless presence 
Of our dreaming

Where do I end
Where do you begin?


Published October 2021