Citizens of Kyiv, photo © Lívia Martvoňová (Malý Berlín)

Citizens of Kyiv

Implementation period of project:
January 2023 — December 2023


A year-long international project centred on the work of Ukrainian photographer Alexander Chekmenev and his eponymous series of photographs capturing the courage and fighting spirit of ordinary Kiev residents during the Russian war in Ukraine through portraits and personal stories. The project resulted in an exhibition in Antwerp, Belgium, at the cultural space De Studio, and in a book published in France.

Chekmenev’s imagery is reminiscent of his earlier series and of the Flemish masters of the Golden Age. His subjects, although photographed at the most devastating time in their lives, exude a certain magnanimity and inspire admiration. Each portrait is accompanied by personal stories, further emphasizing the generosity, altruism, and unity of the Ukrainian nation. Alexander Chekmenev (b. 1969 in Luhansk, Ukraine) started his career as a photographer in 1988, documenting the people of his hometown, located in a coal-mining region that was seriously affected by the collapse of the Soviet Union. His photographs from this period reflect the roughness of the social and political situation of the decade and form a unique archive of Ukrainian life.

Leader of the project:
Citizens of Kyiv project, Tardino logo
Malý Berlín
V4 project - Critical Revealing of Communist Heritage - Izolyatsia