May 6, 2015 - May 31, 2015
From the Mountains and to the Sea
Since 2003, artist Nadia Sablin has made many trips to the former Soviet Union to photograph what is now Ukraine. For Sablin, who was born in in the USSR, this ongoing journey has become a way of traveling back in time to experience the magic and beauty of her childhood. Although many of the sun-dappled rural scenes included in From the Mountains and to the Sea reflect this nostalgia for the past, there also looms in each image a darkness that provides viewers with a glimpse of the realities of everyday life there. This darkness, however, is tempered by Sablin’s engaging portraits of young Ukrainians, whose frank exuberance emanates from each frame to remind us of humanity’s strength and resilience—which Ukraine needs now more than ever.
“Photographing in the former Soviet Union is a mystical experience. It feels like I am returning to the place of childhood dreams and fairy tales. This time, I’m the one recording the stories. The disappearing world of the 20th century is still intact in much of the former Soviet Bloc and my journeys often feel like travel in time to a seemingly simpler world. . . There is a certain dark magic that rises from the very soil of this land. It is this magic that I hug with my camera, in the huts of the gypsies and the shepherds’ lean-tos and in the gestures of the people in the streets.”
Nadia Sablin is a freelance photographer currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a recipient of the Firecracker Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in photography, and a Puffin Foundation Grant. Sablin’s work has been featured in The Guardian, The Financial Times, Slate, American Photo, and Calvert Journal, and her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Southeast Museum of Photography, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Bellevue College, and Texas Woman’s University School of Art, among others. She recently received the Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman Book Prize and her monograph, Aunties, will be published in November 2015.