Opening: Feb 27, 5pm, Alliance Française de Madras

Duration:Feb 27 – Mar 13 | Open to Public

“War does not decide who is right but who is left” – George Bernard Shaw

Ukrainian identity was lost during Soviet Union period due to the strong forces of the resident Russian population. Once the USSR collapsed, the country was ruled by thieves and corrupt leaders for as long as 23 years. This impeded the Ukrainian society, resulting in a desperate need for change.

In 2013, after weeks of peaceful protests, violence broke out. A burning tire became the symbol of this revolution, representing the desire to burn the past and free themselves from corruption and social injustice. This movement, namely, Euromaidan, began on 21st of November 2013 with public protests demanding the government in power to sign the European Integration agreement. The uprising spread as the protesters countrywide demonstrated against injustice, corruption and political manipulation and violations of human rights on all levels of Ukraine’s society. Citizens longed to become a part of the European Union, to bring them peace and autonomy, away from Russian rule. The protests lasted for many weeks, and the young protesters began to use violence in the wrong manner. Police responded to the upheaval with retaliated violence, resulting in the deaths of more than 100 young people.

on February 22nd 2014, following these tragic events Ukraine’s beleaguered President Viktor Yanuckovych fled the country. This was in favour of the protesters as it led to a majority vote for a pro-European president to be elected on May 25th that year.

Ukrainian people seemed to have found a new identity during Maidan, which should have united the nation. However not all citizens of Ukraine felt that way. Certain segments of the population, largely the older generation were still fixated by the Soviet identity. At the same time a percentage of the youth continued to romanticize about being part of the Russian empire. These uprisings continued for almost 2 years, with more than 9000 killed and 1.5 million Ukrainians internally displaced; of these almost 1 million fled abroad.

Despite constant fighting and shelling along the line of contact the war is labeled a “frozen conflict”.


About the Artist:

Olya Morvan was born in 1983 in Odessa, Ukraine. She received a degree in economy and tourism from Odessa State Economic University. She is passionate about documentary photography and photojournalism. She has been developing her talent since 2012 with Yannick Cormier, Documentary Photographer (Trikaya Agency). Her influences include the classical photographers such as Henrie Cartier-Bresson, Josef Koudelka, Alex Webb. Olya’s unique sense of composition was enhanced through her personal projects focusing on the Metro of Chennai, the religious festivals in Tamil Nadu, and on the Buddhist Monks in and around the Ladakh region. She followed Minnal, a homeless woman, to tell her story with all its dignity, joy and sadness as a more intimate portrait of humanity.

In December 2015 Olya joined the French Photography Agency Hans Lucas.

Olya’s work has been published in Paris Match, Le Monde, Nouvel Observateur, Revista 2, Liberation, Le Point, etc.

The photos from Ukraine were shown on screen during the Visa Pour l’Image Perpignan (2014) and Bayeux-Calvados Award of war correspondents (2014).

Olya attended the 2013 Delhi Photo Festival’s Magnum workshop led by Raghu Rai and was selected to be featured in the British Journal of Photography.