Russia-Ukraine, 2014-2024-ongoing

This war, like any war, was never supposed to happen.

How do people love each other when they come from two countries that have become enemies? Oksana Yushko - born to a Russian mother and a Ukrainian father - has been telling both her personal story and that of many mixed couples since 2014, the year of Russia's annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas region. The project started with a photograph of Oksana’s parents, living in Kharkiv, Ukraine, a 30-minute drive from the Russian border. The conflict has torn two countries apart, though Russians and Ukrainians have always been close and have common history — about half of Ukrainians have families or close friends in Russia and vice versa. Since the Russian full-scale invasion to Ukraine in February 2022 many Russians and Ukrainians have stopped seeing themselves as 'neighbours' any more, they became enemies. Previously, these couples were so common that they were not considered controversial. These love stories in the former USSR territories were unquestionable, with barely existing borders. For Oksana’s parents who have been living together for more than sixty years, the war never came in the way of their relationship.

The FAMILIA case is a portable installation addressing how the war in Ukraine affects lives of Ukrainian-Russian couples, showing both a tragedy and mass displacement of families, but also love stories and contradictory narratives from a human perspective.
There are many different stories. Anna and Kirill’s love started during the war. Irina and Alexey left Russia back to Ukraine because of the war. Dasha and Andrey now live in Georgia. Polina and Vasily migrated to Argentina. The suitcase installation represents both a new life, but also consequences of the war, tragedies and sorrow along the migrants journey. Confronting the increasingly divided and antagonistic world in which we find ourselves today, the project shows a way to designate movement over or beyond boundaries, when love conquers all.

#familia #nowar #peace #love #russia #ukraine

Lina and Viktor met in Kharkiv, Ukraine, during their university years. Viktor was born in Kharkiv. Lina moved there from Voronezh region with her family. They have been living together for more than 60 years.
Kharkiv, 2014