‘Territorial’ group show

I am currently part of a group show titled ‘Territorial’ at The Banks Space gallery in Adalgate East, London E1, the gorgeous gallery that belongs to The Cass/ London Metropolitan University

This is an exhibition that I have curated, selecting and presenting my work and that of 5 other contemporary photographer as part of London Photomonth.

Territorial

The idea behind this show is to present work of contemporary photographic practicalness whose work is concerned with concepts human geography, identity and territory.

The show opened on 20th October with a well attended private view, and it will continue till 12th November. It’s open Wednesdays to Saturdays (shut sun-mon-tue).

There will also be 2 artist talks on 27th of October and 3rd November at 6pm, open to the public.

Working on this show whilst also preparing my solo show at The Stone Space gallery has been tough, especially due to the lack of funding – unfortunately funding for the arts in the UK seem to have miserably shrunk! To go around this issue, I printed everyone work with a white border and used it to pin the images to the wall, avoiding frames.

On the private view night the show was well received and I received positive feedback about both my work and my curation, of which I am very pleased.

I presented a selection of images of my series ‘Borderlands’ including some new images that I had never shown before, such as an image showing the Danube overflown (border Croatia-Serbia) and a portrait of an orthodox priest (photographed in Psarades, border Greece with Albania and Macedonia, last summer).

My work on show at The Bank Space

My work on show at The Bank Space

20161020_204902_1477213192040_resized

20161021_132832_1477213039966_resized

Other artists included Ania Dabrowska, who showed a combination of 3 different series which includes both portraits as well archival images, collage and landscape as well as “passport books”. Her work deals with issues of identity, migration, belonging and homeland.

Ania Dabrowska ' work on show at the private view

Ania Dabrowska ‘ work on show at the private view

20161020_191621_1477213194592_resized

Other artists include Yiannis Katsaris, presenting images of prayer boxes “EKissakia” on the roadside of Greece together with a new video piece composed of found family footage from the 80s, and Paul Greenleaf who is showing his work ‘Correspondence’. In this series Greeleaf has worked with found-postcards, rephotographing the location as it is today. The images are showcased with the original postcards, and the writings at the back of the postcards compose the titles. I approached Paul Greenleaf to take part in this exhibition as I found interesting his visual correlation between past and present, as well as how carefully he had curated the shots, matching the focal length used in the original postcards to that used in the new landscapes. He also exhibited 3 pieces of ambient music.

I also included 2 large scale images from the series ‘Sandlings’ by Alastair Bartlett, an ex student of mine at University of Suffolk.  His work is shot in 5×4 and beautifully presents landscapes of the Suffolk countryside which the photographer has selected based upon his childhood memory and personal attachment to that territory.

Alastair Bartlett series 'Sandlings'

Alastair Bartlett series ‘Sandlings’

Also part of the show is Christos Koukelis, an award winning photographer who has shown one of his first works titled ‘The Hill’. Photographed over a period of many months in 2000, this series focuses on a man made hill, constructed on top of a dried lake. It shows not only the passing of different seasons, but the human impact on the territory, as the vegetation has been burnt out and the lake dried up to make space for farmland and this hill. We don’t know the reason why it’s being built, but it’s awkwardly perfect symmetry stands out against the roughness of the natural landscape damaged by humans.

Christos Koukelis work 'The Hill'

Christos Koukelis work ‘The Hill’

Territorial_exhibition_logotype

Print

 

 

‘Borderlands’ Exhibition at The Stone Space gallery

I am currently having an exhibition at The Stone Space, a lovely gallery in Leyton, London E11, as part of London Photomonth.

The exhibition opened on 6th October with a well attended private view, followed by my artist talk on 8/10. It will be open till 30th October, opening days Thursdays to Sundays (shut mon-wed).

The gallery is a non-profit space run by artists and volunteers, and it’s a small but excellent space, with a large window on the road.

I have exhibited a selection of 9 images in different sizes, plus 2 large maps. I showed a selection of images from the corpus buffer zone/serbia-croatia/serbia-romania border.

It’s the first time I combine my photographs with maps: these maps are scans of the maps that I use when I walk along borders, which I often use to write down notes. The maps become integral part of my practice and I collect them as precious reminders of the borders visited. I scanned a selection of them and printed them of Sticky-Tex, a vinyl paper that sticks to the wall but can be removed and re-used, and combined different scans to print  a long 60x250cm print.

20161006_192031_1477213681275 IMG_20161008_125004_1477213680502 20161008_131844_1477213679978 20161006_192113_1477213681708 20161006_184936_1477213680714 IMG_20161009_135514_1477213679776

check out The Stone Space post about my exhibition here!

Very pleased with the results, and very happy to have been part of London Photomonth

EXHIBITION!

Exhibition! My work “Borderlands” on show in the cloister of the Badia Fiesolana, European University Institute, Fiesole, Florence. I tool part in the annual conference of the project “EU Bordercare” , I am working on this project as collaborator. My work will be on display through July 2016.

 

 

exhibition at Badia Fiesolana, Florence. part of the EU Bordercare project

exhibition at Badia Fiesolana, Florence. part of the EU Bordercare project

photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

all images printed on Canson paper

 

Since 2012, Paola Leonardi has taken analogue photographs of people and places along the land borders of the European Union, narrating life at the edges of Europe. Her project juxtaposes the concepts of geographical and political Europe. The series focuses on the connection between people and territory, the significance of transnational and transcultural identities, and the relevance of European identity to concepts of home and belonging, memory and territory.

In the summer of 2003, I travelled by train between Slovenia and Italy. Coming into Italy, the train stopped for a passport check at an empty ground, 110 meters of bleak concrete paving – an empty space standing between the two countries and curiously seeming to belong to neither. When my turn came, the Italian guard joked, suspiciously, that I looked too fair for an Italian. But he’d let me in, he said, since Slovenia would join the EU the following year anyway.

He wasn’t too wrong; my grandmother had come “from the other side”: her family left their native Istria in WWI, and she was born a refugee in Switzerland before they settled in Italy. We called her “the Jugoslavian grandmother.” My family’s history filled my imagination with faraway lands and people. In 2011-2012, I started thinking of photographing along the borders of Europe, following the border lines on a map.

I mainly travel on foot, sometimes I use public transport, and I have also cycled and hitchhiked. Slow travel has allowed me to meet people, and get a better idea of places and lifestyles. The borders tend to be depopulated and not touristy, so people most often welcome me. On the other hand, I risked hypothermia along the Finland-Russian divide, and the Turkish soldiers in Cyprus were rather hostile!!

On the Serbia-Croatia border, the Croatian inhabitants showed me where they had hidden from invading Serbian soldiers in the mud of the Danube’s bank. A lady whispered to me, “I am a Serbian, but don’t tell anyone; they don’t like me here.” In Serbia, a Croatian family said they were hoping for both countries to be in the EU. In Cyprus, people cried at my photos taken in parts of the island their families had to leave after the 1974 invasion. On the buffer zone, people on both sides invited me to their homes, and spoke of how they wished for a country without divide. On the Romanian-Serbian border, I spent a day with a Hungarian shepherd, who had walked down from Hungary: he couldn’t to write, but was able to use Facebook. In Greece, some elders warned me against crossing on foot into Turkey; “it could be dangerous, they hate us.” Their Turkish counterparts said exactly the same! In Finland, I met a man who needed a visa to travel 25 kilometers into Russia to visit his cousins, and identified as both Russian and Finnish saying, “I don’t care what governments say, my family belongs to both places.” For the most part, people have responded well to my project. My feeling is that there is a common European identity, but also a strong identification with the other side of the border.

exhibition at Badia Fiesolana, Florence

Photo Exhibition ‘BORDERLANDS: THE EDGES OF EUROPE’

A selection of my work will be on show at the Cloister of the Badia Fiesolana, Fiesole, Firenze. Opening on 27th June the exhibition will be visible during the month of July.

I will be in Florence 26th-29th to take part in the EU Bordercare conference and during summer I will begin my photographic collaboration with this anthropological research, photographing in Greece.

upcoming exhibitions!

My work has been selected for a solo exhibition at The Stone Space Gallery, in London, from 6th to 30th of October as part of London Photomonth. I will show new work produced over summer, approximately 18 new photos.

Furthermore I am organising and curating a group show at The Bank Gallery in London, located opposite the Whitechapel Gallery. I am curating the work of 5 other artists whose work is concerned with issues of human geography, territory, memory and identity; I will show my new work as well. This will take place from 20th October for 3 weeks. Participating artists are:

Christos Koukelis

Ania Dabrowska

Alastair Bartlett

Yiannis Katsaris

Paul Greenleaf

photographer Wolfgang Tillmans on European culture

Renowned photographer Wolfgang Tillmans on European culture and Brexit

Article in The Guardian

…”You are a German who lives between Berlin and London, and attended college in the UK. Do you consider yourself a citizen of Europe?
Yes. I honestly do. My identity is European. City-wise, I’m a Londoner. Nationally, I’m German. But, really, I see myself as a product of European reconciliation and cultural exchange…”

6862  Wolfgang Tillmans. Photograph: Michael Danner/Observer

 

I feel like that too!! My grandmother was an Italian refugee from Istria (nowadays Croatia) born in Switzerland who then lived in Italy, Germany, then back in Italy. My cousins are Venezuelans. My sister has lived in Spain for 20 years. I have lived in the UK for 20 years. My bother travels all over the place for work. City-wise I am a Londoner. Nationally my passport says Italian. I feel European.

borders summer 2016

danube40

Border Serbia-Croatia, a couple of years ago

In summer 20016 I am planning to photograph along the borders of the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) with neighboring Belarus and Russia. These areas interest me because of their social composition and socio-political issues relevant to the composition of European Identity. The Baltic countries have large numbers of EU citizens that identity as ethnic Russians, composing up to 30% of the population. Even higher numbers consider their first langue Russian. Furthermore there are other minorities such as Ukrainian, Belarusians and Seto. I am interested in how people configure their own identity and how the attachment to a territory affects self-perception.

this summermy plan for summer!

I will start my travel by reaching Vilnius, Lithuania, which is the closest airport to the border and I will use Vilnius as base to visit 3 locations. Lithuania is the Baltic country with the lowest percentage of population that identifies as Russian or Byelorussian, merely 7%, however it presents some very interesting locations: the villages of Šalčininkai, as well as Dieveniškės, Norviliškės were split in half at the fall of the Soviet Union, when a border fence was put in place, splitting communities and making it difficult for relatives to visit each others. Read here http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/22/news/adfg-border22

I will follow the Lithuanian border to enter Latvia, where the city of Daugavpils, near the border with Belarus, counts a majority of inhabitants of Russian ethnicity. I will use this town as base to visit small villages near the borders, such as Silene, Kraslava and Patarnieki. The cities of Rezekne and Ludza will be my base to start the exploration of the Latvia-Russian border, heading to Zilupe and the Terehova village on the border crossing, as well as Karsava. The villages of Rekova, Vilaka, Balvi and Abrene are of particular interest as part of the Abrene District that has been swapped between the two countries, nowadays mainly in Russia . Read here on the Abrene District from a Latvian point of view (slightly nationalistic…i am sure the other side of the border would present a different story!) https://latvianhistory.com/2014/05/29/the-lost-latvian-land-abrene/

Russian speakers in Baltic counties http://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/opinion/the-new-generation-of-baltic-russian-speakers/ Estonia and Latvia have particularly large ethnic Russian minorities, with about 24% and 27% of the general population respectively, while Lithuania’s Russian population falls just under 6%. Percentages of Russian speakers, rather than ethnic Russians, are even higher since other Baltic minorities such as the Polish, Ukrainians, Belarusians, or people of mixed ethnic origin, have often adopted Russian as their primary language. Latvia’s Russian speakers made up nearly 34% of the population, Lithuania’s Russian speakers toted nearly 8%, and Estonia’s about 30%. In all three Baltic states, Russian-speakers are concentrated in capital cities and in territories close to the Russian border. However, the vague and ambiguous term of Russian compatriots, or even Russian speakers, has been little explored, in the Baltic or European context.

“The biggest problem in my opinion is Latvia’s view of Russian speaking people as “others”. It makes Russian-speaking people feel alienated and unwanted. Another problem is that Latvia might give citizenship to Russian-speaking people, but they can never be called Latvians because Latvia strictly differentiates between citizenship and nationality. My citizenship is Latvian, but [my] nationality can be only Russian or Polish. It shows that the [Latvian] country formed from and for one nation – Latvians, making other ethnic group as “citizens” and not Latvians.”

I will continue to the north Into Estonia I will focus on the Setuma region, which has ethnicities of Seto speaking a finnish-ungarian language and have a mixed Russian-Estonian culture, this minority has become cut of from its cultural capital of Pechory, nowadays in Russia. In this area I will visit the towns of Obinitsa, Piusa, Koidula. Read here https://deepbaltic.com/2015/12/12/split-by-a-border-and-fading-fast-estonias-unique-seto-people/

I will finish my travel in the Narva region, where the town of Narva is split from its counterpart Ivangord by a border crossing; in this area the majority of inhabitants are Russian ethnics or Russian speakers.

new borders

today I was reading this article on an Italian newspaper in which it defines portaerei Cavour, an Italian military vessel, as the “last border of Europe”. this boat rescue migrants in the mediterranean sea

read the article here in Italian only, sorry!

aside from the debate on migration, this interests me as I am collaborating with the European University Institute, whose research in anthropology focuses on the borders of Europe. In particular my work is part of the “EU Border Care” an anthropological project that studies migration in relation to maternity. The project is funded by an ERC Starting Grant.

link here

At the end of June 2016 as part of this project I will exhibit some of my work at the Closet Gallery in Villa Fiesole