SEA HEALS,
2021, ODESSA, UKRAINE

ARTISTIC DUO WITH ALEXANDER URIEV

On 9th August 2020 Alyaksandr Lukashenka went to his sixth presidential term after rigged elections, and mass violent protests began in Belarus. On the night of August 9-10, grenades began to explode in Minsk and shots were heard. From that moment on, the confrontation between security officials and ordinary citizens in the country does not stop - people are fleeing the country en masse, almost 5,000 criminal cases have been initiated, more than 600 people are recognized as political prisoners, hundreds more remain in the dungeons of isolation wards and prisons.

The Belarusian authorities are persecuting doctors, journalists and teachers. “Akrestsina” - the name of the street on which the detention center in Minsk is located - has become synonymous with monstrous torture and rape. A year later, Alexander Lukashenko continues to receive Russian loans and remains in the presidency, although many countries do not consider him president. The project examines the process of emigration of Belarusians to Odessa, associated with protests and political events in 2020-21. The Belarusians who survived the clash with the security forces, detention, and persecution are forced to look for a new home.

These people chose Odessa to feel safe and recuperate.

In this photo project, on the one hand, we want to show the history of transformation, spiritual changes through which a global number of people go. In 2020 alone, more than 30 thousand people left Belarus. On the other hand, we do not want to hide behind the tragedy of these circumstances and look closely at how representatives of the specific Odessa community of Belarusians feel and evaluate their experience.

The photo series consists of portraits of Belarusian refugees in the water of Black Sea – the highlight of Odessa and a number of interviews about the idea of home, immigration and self-reflexion in this context. And plays with the familiar concept within our culture that sea heals all the wounds, both physical and emotional.

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Soundtrack: Sounds of the Sea + Quotes from the interviews

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