Justyna Mielnikiewicz has been insightfully documenting everyday life in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Her debut book, Woman With the Monkey (2015) presents a record of 15 years of work in the Caucasus mountains. Since 2014, she has been photographing Ukraine.
Her first, much earlier concept was to follow the run of the Dnieper river which, aside from its geographical significance, divides the country also symbolically. During Justyna's work on the project Ukraine Runs Through It, two events occurred which changed the fate of the country and thus influenced the character of the photo series. First the Euromaidan (late 2013 / early 2014) and a while later the seizure of Crimea by Russia have thrown Ukraine into a state of war.
Justyna photographs these transformations, observing how the conflict divides not only the country itself, but also the people. Ukraine Runs Through It is a story of the ordinary people from different parts of the country, who unexpectedly had to cope with much more complicated reality. The viewers learns about the fates of various individuals, looks at everyday life in Kiev and in the Donbass region – places known from the TV news – and also, or perhaps more importantly so, in smaller, ordinary towns and villages.
The Ukrainians have to deal not only with an armed conflict within the borders of their own country, but also with chaos and propaganda. Some of the people portrayed by Justyna have decided to join the active fight, to take sides. The photographer is trying to understand their motivations and attitudes, that is why she devoted her time, for several years, to re-visit the country and the people she portrayed.
This exhibition presents more than 40 photographs from the project Ukraine Runs Through It, which was closed and finalized in the form of a photobook at the end of 2019. The book made the shortlist of the most important photobook contest, Aperture – Paris Photo Photobook Prize..
Curator: Joanna Kinowska
Opening: November 29, 2019 (Friday), 7:30 PM
Guided tour with the artist and the curator: November 30, 2019 (Saturday), 12:00
Entrance fee 30.11.2019 – 2.02.2020: PLN 7
Main partner: Puro Hotels
IFF Foundation patron: Fort Mokotów, White Stone Development
Partners: Stroer, Artibo
Exhibition patron: The Princes Lubomirski Foundation
PR: Steinke Communications