Donbas: A Family Photo Archive
This is a visual anthropology research project.
Photo albums of residents form a documentary story of Donbas. Family archives of residents of Luhansk region include a deep layer of visual material that captures cultural and historical features of the regimes of the past century. The photo archive combines private and public spheres, with the line between them not always clear, considering the ideological constructions of society in the last four generations.
Private photographs are used to record the key stages of life. Growing up, a person transforms from an object in the photograph to a subject, complementing the family archive with photographs of their time. Many funeral photographs were found among the village collections of the 1960s and early 1970s, although in the cities this tradition is gradually disappearing. But no matter how the culture of photography changes, a person stays in the focus of the lens from birth to death.
A separate series within the photo archive in the exhibition captures eight wedding rituals:
- Standing on a rushnyk, ritual wedding cloth
- Breaking a ceremonial loaf of bread
- Setting fire to the hearth
- Greeting parents and receiving their blessing
- Laying flowers at World War II monuments
- Newlyweds’ tradition of taking pictures together
- The tradition of photographing newlyweds at the registry office
- The large family photo
The wedding is one of the key ritualized events of life, representing the local cultural codes of Eastern Ukraine. It embodies both regional customs and national traditions.
«Plus/Minus» art residence is a public organization registered in 2017 in the city of Sievierodonetsk, uniting like-minded people from Luhansk in different spheres such as culture, art, local history and anthropology, media, civic activism, education, and jurisprudence into an extensive network. The main objectives of “Plus/Minus” relate to introducing local audiences to the art and history of the region and the country, as well as promoting internal and external regional cultural activities. The art residence is curated by Kateryna Siryk.