Photography in the Soviet Union was an instrument of the state used to document achievements and define ideologies of the communist party. This exhibition provides a contemporary example of the role photography plays in the quest for a post-Soviet identity.
Ukraine is one of the important former republics of the USSR. Its natural resources, heavy industries and access to the Black Sea give it a crucial geopolitical role. Yet despite gaining independence in 1991, this emerging democracy has yet to define its national character. To better understand Ukraine, the not-for-profit organization Altemus commissioned a team of young Eastern European photojournalists, members of the Sputnik Photos collective, to travel the country and capture its ethos. These photographers experienced the transition to democracy and capitalism in their own countries, and as a result view Ukraine through a unique lens. To deepen this process of discovery, Altemus also asked some of Ukraine’s most talented young writers to explore the theme of identity. Together these photographs and stories reveal a country caught between communism and liberalism, tradition and modernity, but one that is also rich in diversity and resilient in spirit.