Daily Life - NOMINEE: Hanna Jarzabek
The Bubble (Transnistria/Pridnestrovie)
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Transnistria / Pridnestrovie
LEAD: How do the youth of an unrecognized country perceive and build their identity, present and future, bearing the weight of the Soviet past, facing poverty and inequalities and searching for a place between Russia and Europe?
With the fall of the Soviet Union, some of the regions that were part of this empire entered overnight into an spiral of ethnic and linguistic conflicts. Pridnestrovie (also known under the Latin name of Transnistria) is one such case. To preserve their Russian language and identity, the inhabitants of the narrow region sandwiched between the Dniester River and the Ukraine defended with weapons what they now consider their country. The unilateral separation from Moldova, not recognized by any country in the world, created a kind of bubble in which almost 500,000 Transnistrians live until now.
From the inside, Transnistria has all the characteristics of a state: government, currency, passport, borders and armed forces. However for the outside world they do not exist. Some describe the country as "the last vestige of communism" and others as "the black hole" of Europe, where non-recognition and a legal limbo allow opaque and dubious businesses.
How do Transnistrians define themselves? How do the local people build their identity in these conditions? What is the impact of this limbo on the lives of its inhabitants? How do the young generation imagine their future? These questions served as starting point for this project.
I made my first visit to Tansnistria between April and May of this year, with the intention of getting to know the place first-hand and to start documenting its reality. This two-week stay allowed me to make the first contacts, which I plan to deepen in a second trip of two months. My main objective is to focus on young people, portraying their present and collecting their opinions about the future, without neglecting historical references and the recent past.
Among the young people I have encountered so far, emigration is usually the most frequent project for the future. Poverty, inequalities, the lack of alternatives and work mark the rhythm of everyday life, making vain the state's efforts to reinforce the patriotic spirit and convince the youth to stay. In 2015 alone, around 15% of the working population decided to emigrate permanently, most choosing Russia as their destination.
For those remaining, tradition, religion and the past are mixed with the current problems the country faces due to the lack of recognition in the international scene and the development of an oligarchic capitalism. While for some the Soviet heritage is simply part of their history, others transform it into merchandise with a powerful touristic attractive.
The young people I spoke with during my first visit to the country are mainly concerned about work. In their own words: "Identity does not feed you; without money, it becomes less important.” Life in a limbo has taught them how to be practical and even if they claim to love what they consider their country, they want above all to live normally.
In this project I want to give voice to these young people so that, from their own perspective, they can make balance of almost thirty years of "independence". I propose this work also in a more general framework of the growing nationalist boom and protectionism, according to which multiculturalism constitutes an identity risk. In this context, the voice and experience of these young people, coming from a region marked by the memory of the war for ethnic and linguistic differences, is more than relevant.
Hanna Jarzabek (1976, Poland). She finished a Master degree in Political Science and worked on refugee reports for UN agencies such as UNRWA and UNCTA. She developed her passion for photography while travelling (the Gaza Strip, Iran, Philippines).
Since 2008 she is based in Spain where she works as a freelance photojournalist, combining her personal projects with the teaching of photography. She has published in BuzzFeed News, L'OBS, Equal Times, 5W Magazine, Alternatives Économiques, Interviú, El Periódico de Cataluña, 7k Magazine, Gazeta Wyborcza and Polityka among others.
Her projects address discrimination and societal dysfunctions in Europe, with accent on gender and sexual diversity. Lately she has began to work on the issue of radicalization of youth and the increase of right-wing movements in Europe. In parallel she has also been developping projects in post-Soviet regions, investigating issues related to the construction of national identity and the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
She has won different awards, such as the Third Prize in POY Latam 2015, in the multimedia – everyday life category and was awarded with a Helge Humelvoll Scholarship to participate in the 69th Missouri Photo Workshop (2017) and with the “Photojournalism Grant 2015” (GrisArt International School of Photography, Barcelona).
Nominee in 2017 Edition of Photography Grant in "Photojournalism category" (London / UK), finalist of the 19th FotoPres la Ciaxa (Barcelona 2013) and of the Grand Press Photo 2012 (Poland) she was also selected to "Les Coup de Coeur de l'ani" award by Iconographers National Association at Visa pour L'image (2016).
She has participated in festivals such as PhotOn 2018 International Festival of Photojournalism (2018), UCL Festival of Culture in London (2017), FOTONOVIEMBRE Tenerife (2015) and the VIII Biennal de Xavier Miserachs (2014) among others.
Among her exhibitions, stand out: "Ars Homo Erotica" collective exhibition in the National Museum in Warsaw (2010) and the individual exhibition in the Municipal Museum in Ourense (2011).
Awards & Grants
2017: Nominee in 2017 Edition of Photography Grant, London / UK Photojournalism category
2017: Helge Humelvoll Scholarship 2017, Missouri / USA to participate in the 69th Missouri Photo Workshop
2015: POY Latam 2015, the Third Prize in the Multimedia – everyday life category, Mexico
2015: Grant of GrisArt, the International School of Photography, Barcelona /Spain
2014: Shortlisted at the Cross Video Days, Paris, project Black Future – webdoc
2014: Grant Fotografía i Societat, Centre Jardins de la Pau, Spain
2013: Finalist of the Second Call of the 19th FotoPres “La Caixa”, Spain
2012: Finalist of the Grand Press Photo 2012, single picture in “News” category, Poland
2010: Grant of the 11º Foro Fotográfico Can Basté Barcelona, project Lesbians & much more
2010: Selection within the ShowOFF / PhotoMonth, Photography Festival, Cracow/ Poland
2009: Finalist the Visionados, Festival de Fotografía TRAFIC’09, CCCB (Center of the
Contemporary Culture) Barcelona / Spain
2009: Finalist of the II Concurso de Fotografía ACFA, Avilés / Spain
Festivals & Conferences:
2018: Teruel Punto Photo Festival International of Photography, Teruel / Spain
2018: PhotOn Festival International of Photojournalism, Valencia / Spain
2018: UCL Conference: Impacts of Gender Discourse on Polish Politics, Society & Culture, University College London
2017: UCL Festival of Culture, University College London
2016: SCAN OFF, Festival of Photography in Tarragona, Spain
2016: Santander PHOTO, Santander / Spain
2016: Visión Fest Galicia, A Coruña / Spain (finalist with “The Autumn Flowers” Project)
2015: FOTONOVIEMBRE Festival of Photography, Tenerife / Spain
2015: Fire! 20th Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, The French Institute, Barcelona /Spain
2015: DOCfield 2015 (NITS projeccions), Documental Photography Festival, Barcelona / Spain
2014: VIII Biennal de Fotografía Xavier Miserachs, Palafrugell / Spain
2014: 10th International Festival of Social Short Films “Solo Para Cortos”, Barcelona / Spain
2013: Festival Circuit 2013 Documental Photography Barcelona, Sala Montjuïc, Spain
2013: Fire! 18th Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, The French Institute, Barcelona / Spain
2013: Festival Revela’T, Photographic Festival, Villassar de Dalt / Spain
2012: The 12º Forum Fotogràfic Can Basté, Barcelona / Spain
2011: Festival Outoño Fotográfico, Ourense / Spain
2010: PhotoMonth Photography Festival, section SHOW OFF, Cracow / Poland
Project The Autumn Flowers
2018: School of Art, Teruel, Spain
2017: Can Massallera Center, organized by the City Council of Sant Boi de Llobregat, Spain
2017: EspaiFoto Photography School, Barcelona
2016: Day House for elderly people, organized by the City Council of Terrassa, Spain
2015: Espai Fotografic Can Basté, Barcelona
2014: UNZIP / Jardins de la Pau Center, El Prat de Llobregat / Spain
Project Lesbians & much more
2014: exhibition at the VIII Biennal de Fotografía Xavier Miserachs, Palafrugell / Spain
2013: Can Manyer, Villasar de Dalt / Spain
2012: Gallery Ruïnes Pati Limona, Barcelona
2011: Municipal Museum, Ourense / Spain
2011: Espai Fotografic Can Basté, Barcelona
2010: Center Cultural NWS, Warsaw
2010: Gallery WNP, ProFotografia Institute, Warsaw
2010: Polish Theatre, Bydgoszcz/Poland (slideshow)
2010: Gallery 2piR, ProFotografia Institute, Poznan/Poland
2010: Man Ray School of Photography, Madrid (slideshow)
Project Hard Times
2014: exhibition at the International Festival of Social Short Films “Solo Para Cortos”, Barcelona
2014: Ateneu El Rovell, Malgrat de Mar / Spain
2014: Gallery Garcia Tornel, Blanes / Spain
2013: Casal Esmandies, Mataró / Spain
2012: FotoFesta 2012, Espai Fotografic Català-Roca, Barcelona (slideshow)
2012: Espai Fotografic Can Basté, Barcelona
Project Black & White from the Palestine
2005: Gallery Gaudet-Blavignac, Geneva / Switzerland
Collective exhibitions and other collaborations
2016: Documentary “Política, manual de instrucciones”, dir. Fernando León de Aranoa
(Photographs of the project “Hard Times” included in the film).
2015: FOTONOVIEMBRE TENERIFE, “Atlántica Colectivas”, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
2012: Grand Press Photo 2012, Itinerary, full year exhibition, Poland
2012: Centro de Fotografía Documental, Fotografía está de Fiesta – Piel de Foto, Barcelona
2012: Espai Fotografic Can Basté, 15-M Indignados, Barcelona
2011: Espai Fotografic Can Basté, Vist a Barcelona, Barcelona
2010: National Museum of Warsaw, Ars Homo Erotica, Poland
2008: Gallery Focale, Métissage, Nyon / Switzerland
Press publication: http://www.hannajarzabek.com/tearsheets