Russian illegal prison on IZOLYATSIA premises has been operational for 10 years.

Exhibition We Were Here by Anton Shebetko

On August 30, 2018, IZOLYATSIA presents We Were Here, an exhibition by photographer Anton Shebetko.

More than 330,000 Ukrainians took part in the Anti-Terrorist Operation on the east of Ukraine*. No data exist on the number of LGBT+ persons among them. The far right groups and people who share conservative views strongly believe that they are totally not there. That belief is often used as an argument against holding human rights events and Marches of Equality. We Were Here project is aimed at shedding light upon individuals who are modern Ukrainian heroes on the one hand - and on the other hand are ignored by the majority of their fellow citizens.   

The LGBT+ representatives became central figures of the project We Were Here. They were engaged in ATO and currently take part in JFO (Joint Forces Operation) as soldiers and volunteers. The collision, conflict and merge of these identities is reflected in a series of portraits.   

Most of the protagonists have to wear camouflage not only during the service, but in casual life as well. They don’t make public coming outs in civilian life, they mostly conceal that in army too, being afraid of mocking and negative feedback. Concerned about not to be identified, some of them asked to use aliases.

They all have different points of view: some speak up for Marches of Equality, others say that will just provoke the far rights. The only thing that unites them is the service in Ukrainian army, active participation in volunteer movement and sexuality, gender identity. These issues are still a taboo both in such typically masculine structure as army, and in general Ukrainian society.

*Data on granting the combat veteran status by State Service of Ukraine for War Veterans and Anti-Terrorist Operation Participants as of May 2, 2018.

The exhibition is organised as part of the project Coming Out of Isolation: Through Art to Visibility by IZOLYATSIA and KYIVPRIDE NGO with the support of the EVZ Foundation. Special thanks to the Lightfield photo studio and Sviatoslav Sheremet.

About the artist:
Anton Shebetko is a Ukrainian artist and photographer. Based in Amsterdam, he works with LGBT-related topics. His project Plieshka about the old meeting places of Kyiv gay people was shown at the Festival of Young Ukrainian Artists at the Mystetskyi Arsenal in 2017. His latest project Common People is a series of distorted portraits and interviews with Ukrainian closeted gays.

August 30 – October 7, 2018, Monday to Sunday, 10 AM – 8 PM.

IZONE, 8 Naberezhno-Luhova, Second Floor.