Displaced Youth
Project info

Thousands of eastern Ukrainians have fled their homes due to ongoing Russian military invasion, in which the cities occupied by Russian separatists are being shelled with heavy artillery and bombs. An estimated 70,000 refugees have fled regions such as Crimea and Donetsk to resettle throughout the country. The widespread diasporas of internal refugees fleeing Eastern Ukraine has left many jobless and often homeless. Adults with previous work experience are the first to get jobs, leaving a drastic increase in youth living in resettlement sites in the east and on the streets of Kiev.

Shot during the summers of 2015 and 2016, this series documents youth living in resettlement sites in Donetsk as well as in the city of Kiev. Some resettlement sites are repurposed summer camp dormitories, located alongside forests, lakes, and rivers. Summer holiday ephemera in these sites is starkly contrasted by its occupants, which include families who are desperately waiting to go home. This juxtaposition of summer vacation and internal displacement highlights the freedom and innocence that is at stake when young people are uprooted and displaced. The photos in this series document the essence of youth living in limbo. Many of the photos were made on the lakes and in the forests alongside the displacement sites.

At the same time Kiev is experiencing a new generation of burgeoning artists and musicians that is not disconnected from the conflict in the east. As more and more young people are displaced, communities of artists are growing rapidly in Kiev. While working on the series, many friendships were forged with artists in Kiev who live with daily reminders of the violent conflict. The series as a whole includes youth who are currently living in resettlement sites as well as artists who are affected by the ongoing conflict.