Belonging Lesia Maruschak August 2016 Art-Platforma Kiev
As I walk into the gallery, which is located in the middle of an abandoned factory, the photos catch my attention - they feel so distant and familiar at the same time. Through transparent plastic walls of the gallery I see one landscape after another and I get the sense of relating to all of them - I’ve seen all those things before: wooden houses, fields, the sky. Who am I in a place with no identity? Who am I, while looking at these pictures? These are some of the questions I was asking myself. To me, as a Ukrainian, trees like birches (that can be seen in Lesia’s photos) feel very familiar and I start to think the place in the photos is Ukraine. But I know I’m not looking at Ukraine and that makes me feel confused and lost, for a second. On the other hand, looking at nature feels healing - it is mine, the Earth is mine, time is mine, weather is mine. I realise that the World’s borders are made up - that the land in the photo, wherever it is, is mine just like everyone else’s. And that calms me down from the anxiety of feeling lost, feeling like I am not where I am supposed to me.
Some of the photos are industrial and fit into the atmosphere of the gallery. They portray other abandoned factories and houses that are dead, but brought back to life by human presence. The gallery space feels unwelcoming - there is techno playing through the speakers and it feels so synthetic. But the pictures make me feel safe. They have a sense of eternity, something that lasts and I feel like I’m eternal too and therefore not afraid. I learn that boundaries are made up in my head, by me, by people around me and that I should keep an open mind, because the World is so much bigger than what I imagine it to be.