Life in the Last Dictatorship in Europe
December 19, 2013
A new exhibition at the Leica Gallery in Warsaw aims to give an insight into everyday life in Belarus.
The photographs on show were taken by seven photographers of different nationalities as part of a two-year project called Sputnik Photos. All seven traveled to Belarus, sometimes referred to as the “last dictatorship in Europe.”
The photographers aimed to show the daily routines of ordinary Belarusians and activities that, on the surface at least, seem distant from politics and the iron-fisted regime of Alexandr Lukashenko—aspects of life that are not usually covered in the media. For example, pictures by Poland’s Jan Brykczyński explore the role that the Białowieska Forest, which straddles Belarus’s border with Poland, plays in the life of the local community. Agnieszka Rayss pointed her lens at female veterans of the Great Patriotic War, as Belarusians refer to the struggle against Nazi Germany when it invaded the Soviet Union during World War II. Meanwhile, Adam Pańczuk focused on street fashion, which, he realized, is hugely important in Belarus.
Other topics explored in Stand By include a matchmaking service for foreigners, economic migration to the United States, contemporary interpretations of World War II, propaganda and absurd aspects of censorship.
The exhibition features work by Jan Brykczyński, Andrei Liankevich, Manca Juvan, Justyna Mielnikiewicz, Rafał Milach, Adam Pańczuk and Agnieszka Rayss.
Until Jan. 26; Stand By—Sputnik Photos
Leica Gallery; 3 Mysia St. (second floor)