FAMILIA
Russia-Ukraine, 2014-2022

This war, like any war, was never supposed to happen.
I started FAMILIA project in 2014 with a photograph of my parents living in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The city is located only a thirty minutes drive from the Russian-Ukrainian border. Since that time the war in the Eastern Ukraine 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 'neighbors' any more, they became enemies. But my parents, as many of mixed families in both countries, are still bound by love and simply a fact of the common history.
I was born in Ukraine, and have been living in Russia already for 25 years. With my Russian mother and Ukrainian father, I feel that ‘the contact line’ goes exactly through my body now. In 2014, showing the crisis not only in the country but inside the families, helping people around the world to understand the whole tragedy and its reasons, ‘love conquerors all’ was constantly in my mind. Families and friends were split then, and now they split again by full-scale invasion, which was unthinkable. Anti-war protests go everywhere in the world. Sentiments against war come natural to people, but diplomacy and negotiations have failed to prevent it.
My photos aren’t about politics, they speak of people. As many I tried to find a framework for peace in future, reconstructing cross-border and family ties that have endured for centuries. A peace perspective emphasizes that we need to focus on things that require us to unite as opposed to divide. Standing with love and humanity I think ahead, trying to act immediately, even if it takes centuries again.

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

Engelina Georgievna and Viktor Kuzmich live in Kharkov, Ukraine. This is where the project began, with my Russian mother and Ukrainian father. They met in college at Kharkov State University, and have lived together more than 50 years.