A Ukraine Runs Through It

Justyna Mielnikiewicz

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

Since 2014 I was focusing on documenting Ukraine changing starting from Maidan Revolution . I was talking to people along the river and in those key places inland which shaped the history of today. An idea of the project came to me first after working in Crimea in 2008 on a story about a place being neither really pro- Ukrainian nor Russian.

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 Dnieper River is a border  or the main artery of the country and why there is a war in the East- among other questions.  I revisited people and places to  see if and how  they changed since  Maidan Revolution

In my story, the Dnieper River is a symbolic line of reference that serves as a metaphor of present divisions  in  the country, in the same time it also connects various ends of the story. My work explores those complexities of Ukraine which lay the ground to present state building – amid the war in one part of the country which is still unresolved and ongoing.

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