Ukraine Runs Through It

Mielnikiewicz, Justyna
Publisher: Self Published
Binding: Hardback
Language: English
Pages: 205
Measurements: 16.00 x 22.00 cm

“My story explores modern Ukraine in turmoil with the Dnieper river as a metaphor of present split in the country. It documents how the mixed ethnic and historical legacies of Ukraine brought people their present realities. Making the Dnieper river a symbolic line of reference allows me to talk about the most important issues in wider political, historical and geographical context of the whole country.

“Since 2014 I regularly visited Ukraine documenting lives of people along the central Dnieper river and in those key places inland which shaped the history of today. While working in various parts of the country, from Kiev to Donetsk and along the river I asked people what it means to be Ukrainian, if the River is a border or the main artery of the country and why there is a war in the East, among other questions. This project includes the images from 2008 in Crimea and from the 2004 first Maidan Revolution – known as Orange.

“The right bank lands have commonly been considered the heartland of ethnic Ukrainian territory while the left bank was under Russia influence – but that division is contractual. The lingua franca of eastern Ukraine is Russian while in the western part of the country it is Ukrainian. However, in Central Ukraine and in public spaces, including TV political talk-shows, people mix both languages while speaking to each other as it was one language.

“My work explores those complexities of Ukraine which lay the ground to present state building – amid the war in one part of the country.”

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