With the current political interest in Ukraine, CEPA Gallery is proud to present the VASA curated exhibition Eyes on Ukraine: Five Contemporary Ukrainian Photographers. This exhibition covers a period of more than 25 years and features photographers from different parts of Ukraine and multiple generations.
VASA, an online center for media studies, created the current traveling exhibition Eyes on Ukraine: Five Contemporary Ukrainian Photographers from its commitment to provide Ukrainian photographers and film makers a platform for their voice. Over the last 4 years, VASA exhibited the work of photographers associated with the Kharkiv School of Photography (4 exhibitions tracing the 1970-80 until current time), Crimea (images and film), Ukraine Project, the war in the Ukraine, and a number of individual artists presented in the VASA Front Page Project. All of the exhibitions, essays and films have been archived on the VASA platform (vasa-project.com).
In the 1970s and 1980s, under strict state censorship, photographers mainly worked underground, and it was only after 1990 that artists emerged free from soviet ideological constraints. Twenty-eight years later Ukraine photographers are experiencing the freedom won by the struggles of previous generations. The work presented here by five Ukrainian artists may be best understood as a rich example of that transition from censorship to freedom.
From direct social reportage on the toil of Donbas miners, to complex techniques using found material, from elaborated quasi beach photos, to reflections on the annexation of Crimea, the selection showcases the diversity of themes and approaches that are characteristic for the art of photography in the country.
For more information on the project: VASA video
Alexander Chekmenev – The Donbas Miners exhibition by this Ukrainian documentary photographer (b. 1969) is dedicated to the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine, the part of the country that the artist comes from and knows best. It comprises work from two decades, 1993 to 2014, the beginning of the war conflict with Russia. The Donbas region is primarily a mining and industrial area. Life has been more difficult for the people of the Donbas region since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The photographs tell the story of people in this mostly illegal and dangerous spine-breaking manual labor.
Roberto Muffoletto Founder and past director for CEPA Gallery (USA) is currently the director of VASA, an online center for media studies (http://vasa-project.com). He is past editor of Camera Lucida, a journal on the criticism of photography; Frame|Work, published by the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies. He earned a MFA in Photographic Studies from the State University of New York – Buffalo and a PhD. From the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Roberto’s photographs are in the collection of the Burchfield Penney Art Center (Buffalo) and the Visual Studies workshop, Rochester, New York. He has published three books on his photographic work and has exhibited in Europe and North America.
Born in 1962, Poltava, Ukraine; lives in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Photographer and head curator at VASA Exhibitions (vasa-project.com). Igor Manko has been engaged in art photography since 1982. In mid-1980s he joined the wide-known Kharkiv School of Photography and has been an active participant of Ukraine’s art photography scene ever since. In 2013 he joined the VASA Project curatorial team and is a head curator for VASA now. Igor Manko has exhibited his work extensively both in Ukraine and internationally. His photos are kept in private collections and galleries. Igor has curated a number of exhibitions in Ukraine. As a VASA curator he made two major projects Kharkiv School of Photography: Soviet Censorship to New Aesthetics (vasa-project.com/gallery/ukraine-1/) and Crimea: A No Man’s Land http://vasa-project.com/gallery/crimea/index.php). Igor is the author of several essays on photography in Ukraine.