Whispers And Shouts – Voices Of Ukrainian Women Photographers, On View in FOTODOK, NL till May 14

by Amina Ahmed



FOTODOK, Utrecht, NL

On View:

25 . 2 . 2023 – 14 . 5 . 2023

Opening times:

Fri-Sun 12-18 h


Curator: Daria Tuminas

Whispers and Shouts. Voices of Ukrainian Women Photographers collects stories about war and displacement from artists of Ukrainian origin. Their projects deal with the complexity of emotions, pain, loss, connections between people, and the trauma of being separated from home. Most of these stories reflect the personal experiences of the artists: losing close friends and family, reuniting relatives under new circumstances, exploring one's own roots or the realities of motherhood in wartime.

For her monumental series Radiations of War (2022), Yana Kononova investigates areas terrorized by Russian missile attacks and troops, or where other hostilities have taken place. The work reflects the intimate process of facing and processing pain, while at the same time presenting a meticulous documentation of Russian war crimes and their aftermath. Radiations of War unceremoniously displays the destructive energy of war, providing important context for the entire exhibition.

Darina Iyudina's Sumuyu Soms [ I miss sometimes , transl.] (2022) takes the viewer to her parents' household in the Dutch municipality of Weert, where Darina moved with her mother when she was seven years old. In March 2022, an aunt of the artist also came to the Netherlands with her children after they had fled the war. The work reflects on how they adapt to the new situation and how a family is forged together.

In Debaltsevo, Where Are You? (2013-2023) Karine Zenja Versluis – Ukrainian, third generation – investigates the story of her grandmother, who was born in Debaltseve, near Donetsk. Despite several obstacles on her journey to her origins, the artist spent time with three women from Debaltseve whose families were displaced during the war.

Dutch-based Katia Motyleva presents her project Loss (2002-2022), an ode to her sister whom she lost twice. Consisting of materials Motyleva made and collected over a period of twenty years, the project compresses the history of the war in Ukraine, showing how the impact of displacement manifested itself years ago. Olena Morozova's What is the Nature of Violence? (2022) charts reactions to the conflict on social media, expressing her emotions amid the darkness through clay and photography. Katya Lesiv’s I am. Rada / Я Рада closes the exposition with a glimmer of hope. Rada is her daughter's name and means 'happy' in Ukrainian. The images document feelings of presence and relief, while at the same time conveying the reality of wartime motherhood, as observed while living in a foreign land.

A parallel group presentation, How Does it Feel?, from Mykolaiv's MYPH School of Photography, with contributions from students and stakeholders from the school's network, gives the exhibition extra depth through a collective statement by thirteen artists. Most of the works were created in 2022 and reflect the photographers' lived experiences during the invasion. This satellite installation is hosted by Astare, a space for mental health professionals and a loyal partner of FOTODOK. The contributing artists are: Alina Lysak, Anastasiia Antonenko, Anna Biletska, Eva Fomitskih, Li Biletska, Mary Jane (Oleksandra Mykhailova), Oleksandra Viazinko, Olena Kosovych, Olena Lemberska, Olena Morozova, Olia Koval.


Image: Yana Kononova, Radiations of War, #51-12, 2022



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