Yevhenia Belorusets [ Ukraine ]
Photographer, artist, and writer Yevgenia Belorusets was born in Kyiv in 1980. From 1996 to 2002 she studied German language and literature at the Kyiv Linguistic University, followed by Austrian literature and philosophy at the University of Vienna until 2005. She also earned a diploma in documentary photography at Viktor Marushchenko’s photography school in 2005/06.
The focus of her artistic work is the exploration of the intersection between art, media, and society. To this end, she employs the media of video and photography. She has frequently participated in exhibitions that combine social criticism with activist art. In 2010, she won the social photography competition organized by the British Royal Photographic Society in collaboration with »The Guardian« with a photograph of the rundown building in the center of Kyiv, whose residents have been waiting for resettlement for over 20 years. Since August 2014, Yevgenia Belorusets has repeatedly traveled to the Donbass and photographed the everyday life of people in the frontline areas. In 2016, the »Taras Shevchenko« National Museum held an exhibition of her photographs called »Peremogi peremoshenikh« (tr: Victories of the defeated).
In 2008, Yevgenia Belorusets founded the »Prostory« literature and art journal, and since 2009 she has been a member of the »Hudrada« curatorial group. In 2018 her book »Shchasliwi padinnja« was published, whose German translation »Glückliche Fälle« (2019; tr: Fortunate Fallings) by Claudia Dathe was awarded the International Literature Prize 2020 of the House of World Cultures Berlin. The book is based on conversations and encounters that Yevgenia Belorusets recorded using pictures and texts. The resulting portraits are mainly of women living in Ukraine between Kyiv and the Donbass. Their everyday lives have been distorted by the presence of war, sometimes almost to an absurd, hyper-realistic level. In this way, the book provides insight into a society for which a state of emergency has become a reality. »›Shchasliwi padinnja‹ is a deeply feminist book, in a very untheatrical, objective, prosaic way, simply by being a woman’s narrative about women. […] It is dedicated to the ›ordinary women‹, those who have neither a doctorate nor an affluent life. It treats what they think and say with full respect. […] For all its topicality and naturalism, ›Shchasliwi padinnja‹ is also a book that follows the Russian and Russian-language Ukrainian literary tradition, especially that of Charms and Gogol, although there is also something Central European about it.« (Eugene Ostashevsky)
Yevgenia Belorusets is involved in a number of cultural and political initiatives, including the Creative Union of Authors and Translators and the »Labor and the Labor Movement in Ukraine« project. She lives in Kyiv and Berlin.