Masha Svyatogor
Kurasoŭščyna, My Love!

(2015–2017)
PRAFOTA 2020 Art Photography Short-list
Kurasoŭščyna is one of Minsk’s multiple residential districts, the one where I was born and grew up — a pretty unremarkable one, with the typical Soviet low-cost housing, a technical water reservoir popularly referred to Voniuchka (Stinky Puddle) and the railway. My imagination, though, developed a world of real mythology around the neighbourhood. I sometimes find it difficult to explain where this or that image came from or draw a line between reality and the play of my imagination. Many of these works are connected to my childhood memories and feelings, as well as to my relations with the city and with modern Belarus' everyday life. In childhood, the typical and the ordinary often turn into the exceptional, mysterious and magic. The heroines of my series interact with the urban environment of Minsk and its suburbs in different ways. Some stand still in immobility and daze, in a state of drowsiness and melancholy, immersing themselves in water as if it were a dream, others hover in space, or flee the city, flying or floating away from it. Attempts to build relationships with an alienated urban environment encourage heroines to blend in, fade into space, become part of it, assimilate, hide, find refuge, keep a low profile. Sometimes, the characters find themselves trapped and unable to influence the situation. On the one hand, the scenes, largely consisting of various elements of everyday life, seem surreal, irrational and phantasmagoric. On the other hand, these bizarre combinations reflect quite some contradictions and paradoxes of Belarus' present-day reality.
Short-list 2020: