September 1, 2011 - October 2, 2011
“not Natasha” traces the tragically fractured and damaged lives of young girls and women caught up in human trafficking for prostitution within Europe. Artist Dana Popa is a native of Romania, and her focus is on women who originate from the neighboring Republic of Moldova, the poorest nation in Europe.
A high proportion of these women, predominantly between the ages of twelve and forty, leave the country with the hope of a better life. An alarming number, especially the younger ones from poor families, fall into the trap of sex traffickers. Moldova has become the main supplier of sex slaves for the whole continent. Over the years, hundreds of women returned to Moldova, broken and traumatised from this hellish experience. Popa’s work displays the hard authenticity and passion born of local knowledge and a strong sense of the complexities of the situation and its deep injustice.
“Natasha is a nickname given to prostitutes with Eastern European looks, and sex trafficked girls hate it. I photographed sex trafficked women after they had returned to Moldova to show how they managed to live in a world that knows nothing of their suffering, and with the huge shadow of fear that their mother or husband might find out and throw them out in the street.”
Dana Popa graduated in 2006 with an MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism from London College of Communication. She was awarded the Jerwood Photography prize for the first series of her project, ‘not Natasha,’ and most recently won the first prize for Centre’s Project Competition, Sante Fe, USA in 2010. Autograph ABP, a photographic arts agency that promotes cultural identity and human rights commissioned part of the project and published it as an artists’ book, not Natasha, in 2009.
Presentation of “not Natasha” at Blue Sky is a collaboration with Autograph ABP.