Under the Caucasus



(Aleš Žiberna)

The photographs exhibited feature spontaneous portraits captured by the author during his exploration of Georgia and Armenia lasting several days. The two countries located in Transcaucasia, a strap of land between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, became independent upon the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The exhibition features thirteen photographs each from Georgia and Armenia, which reflects the author's clear intention to present the local inhabitants of both in equal measure.

Indeed, the two countries boast wonderful landscape, but the author has focused on their people and how they have been affected by recent history and the present situation. His portraits of the local people emanate natural warmth, kindness, but also pride concerning their own culture. Depicting the locals in a church and holding an icon in their hands, the photographer wishes to emphasise the influence of religion, which shows even stronger after years of socialism. It should be noted that Armenia was the very first country to have adopted Christianity as a state religion.

Rather than shying away from the camera, people's eyes seek contact with the author, smile at him, invite him for a visit. In the photographs exhibited, the author shows us the locals' facial features or places them into the wider surroundings, thus telling us of their connectedness and their determination to remain in their living environment although they had not always been treated kindly by history and have lost much of their territory. Showing the images of young people, the author indicates their desire to have a future, both playing carefree on the street and making extra earnings for everyday life.

Having opted for the black-and-white technique, the author has forced us to pay greater attention to the contents of the photographs: to discern the stories he is trying to tell with this exhibition.

Maja Šivec, Professor of Art Education

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