In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Following independency, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state.
In 2013, protests against the government of President Yanukovych broke out in downtown Kiev after the government made the decision to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia. This began a several-months-long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan, which later escalated into the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that ultimately resulted in the overthrowing of Yanukovych and the establishment of a new government. These events precipitated the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, and the ongoing War in Donbass since March 2014.
'Let Us Not Fall Asleep While Walking' depicts the psychological state of this Ukraine while it is looking at the future haunted by its past and memory. The images are metaphorical representations of the everyday life where time seems frozen but dreams and hope linger.
The project started a few months ago and contains at the moment 170 final images. All these taken in the capital of Kiev. As an extension on this work I will start exploring the lives of the people directly involved in the affected areas in Donbas. This as from the end of April 2017. The purpose of this is to integrate a deeper context and understanding of the crisis itself and the ongoing state of war focussing on the essential struggles and doubts people experience and share during times of war.
In judging this year’s PROJECT DEVELOPMENT GRANT I was inspired by the diverse range of practices and concerns within all the entries. In the artists statements I found so many sincere voices on some of the most vital issues of our time along with bold conceptual ideas that enlivened the discourse and attempted to push the bounds of traditional documentary practice.
As an editor, photographer and curator I understand how any support such as commission, award or grant can change the course of a photographer’s career. In the judging process I responded immediately to the projects that had the most unique perspective on vital social issues but conceptualized them in a way that challenged my expectations on a subject. I’m inspired by work that puts no boundaries between art and documentary practice. We produce more images than ever and in many ways I find that inspiring but at this moment I’m interested in work that makes a photograph feel essential and how a photographer uses the medium in a way that feels informed by it history and attempts to be experimental.
Although so many projects entered for consideration are deserving of support I had to make one personal and completely subjective choice that feels unfair. In reality many photographers here deserve the prise and I wish everyone the best in continuing their projects and finding the support that’s vital to make work that’s lasting. Thank you to everyone who entered.