LEGACY: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, & The Caucasus
George Georgiou, Lucia Ganieva, Mila Teshaieva, Rafal Milach, Justyna Mielnikiewicz, Donald Weber, Olga Kravets, Maria Morina, Oksana Yushko, Alexander Chekmenev
Saturday 17 May - Sunday 20 July
The second of Side Gallery’s Eurovisions exhibitions, linked to the 25th anniversary of the coming down of the Berlin Wall, Legacy looks at the new East-West borderlands of the former Soviet Union republics. Struggles for independence and identity take place against the intensifying backdrop of a geo-political battle between Russia and European Union. Through a series of imaginative landscapes the exhibition explores shared histories, isolation and engagement, tradition and the desire for modernity.
Curated by George Georgiou, who brings his own work, IN THE SHADOW OF THE BEAR, it celebrates some of the best documentary photography coming out of this torn and fertile ground.
In Udmurtia, in the heart of the Russian landmass, Lucia Ganieva explores DREAMING WALLS, the exotic photolandscapes opening up from domestic interiors that are a recurring motif throughout the region. From her Caspian Sea project, PROMISING WATERS, Mila Teshaieva shows her work on Azerbaijan, its vast oil and gas reserves shape shaping the senses of both state power and individual insecurity.
In BLACK SEA CONCRETE, Rafal Milach explores Ukraine and Crimea: ‘Once the whole Soviet Union took its holidays in the resorts of the Black Sea. Soviet vacationers left behind Soviet architecture, mentality and sentiment.’ Fellow Polish member of the international collective Sputnik Photos, Justyna Mielnikiewicz has lived in Georgia for 12 years – WOMAN WITH A MONKEY is her tribute to an ‘unpredictable, timeless, Fellini-esque country, both cruel and hilarious.’
Donald Weber’s INTERROGATIONS opens up on the policemen, working girls, thugs, dissidents and hustlers in Ukranian police stations, their disturbing portraits expanding or sense of what it means to be a bit part in the dark opera of encounters with power. In GROZNY: NINE CITIES, members of the Russian photography collective Verso Images, Olga Kravets, Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko have created a multimedia photo novel exploring the different aspects of the Chechnyan city reduced to rubble in two wars.
Legacy was planned in 2013, before the events in Ukraine, which continue to unfold. The portraits in Ukranian photographer Alexander Chekmenev’s WARRIORS are from the barricades of Euromaidan in Kiev and were taken during the February revolution.