Entry Title: "MAIDAN - Portraits from the Black Square (Fighters)"
Name: Anastasia Taylor-Lind , United Kingdom
Category and Expertise: Deeper Perspective|War/Conflict|Portrait_P, Professional


Entry Description: MAIDAN - Portraits from the Black Square by Anastasia Taylor-Lind is a series of portraits of anti-government protestors and mourners made in a makeshift photographic studio in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), Kiev during February 2014. The project will be published in its entirety by GOST books in July 2014.

Story: MAIDAN - Portraits from the Black Square by Anastasia Taylor-Lind is a series of portraits of anti-government protestors and mourners made in a makeshift photographic studio in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), Kiev during February 2014. The project will be published in its entirety by GOST books in July 2014. ‘As the days passed, streams of armed fighters were replaced by tens of thousands of ordinary women, filling the square in an act of collective mourning. My makeshift portrait studio by the barricades in Hrushevskogo Street, where I had photographed men brandishing their improvised weapons, became occupied by women cradling the flowers they had come to lay at the scenes of the battle as a mark of respect for the dead’. In November 2013, President Yanukovych's government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in favour of stronger ties with Russia. Thousands of civilians poured into central Kiev to take part in peaceful protests. Developments including new anti-protest laws, abductions and beatings of opposition activists and police attacks on student protestors led to intensified demonstrations as thousands of highly organised protestors prepared for battle, stockpiling homemade weapons and mass-producing improvised body armour. When Taylor-Lind arrived in central Kiev on 1 February 2014, Independence Square was under siege, surrounded by police loyal to the government. Rising tensions culminated in the worst day of violence on 20 February and the following day President Yanokovych fled Ukraine. In all, three months of protests resulted in 112 confirmed dead, and many more missing. The portraits have been uniformly shot against the black backdrop of Taylor-Lind’s improvised studio, removing them from the context of the barricades just a few feet  away. The ‘fighters’ are identified by their homemade body armour, and the ‘mourners’ by the bunches of flowers they have brought to pay their respects to the dead. Captured with an air of stillness and reflection, these photographs show the individuals involved in, and impacted by, the unrest.

About the Artist:

Anastasia Taylor-Lind (b. 1981) is an English/Swedish documentary photographer who is a member of VII photo agency. She is based in London and works for clients such as National Geographic, GEO Germany, The Telegraph Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, Marie Claire and ELLE. Anastasia’s work has been exhibited internationally, in spaces such as The Saatchi Gallery, The Frontline Club, and The National Portrait Gallery in London, SIDE gallery in Newcastle, Fovea Exhibitions in New York, Pikto Gallery in Toronto and The New Mexico Museum of Modern Art in Santa Fe. She has received a number of photography awards, from a diverse range of organisations including a FNAC grant for photojournalism, which was presented at the Visa Pour L’Image photojournalism festival in 2011. She won the Center Project Award in 2012, as well as a 1st place in the POYi. Anastasia has degrees in Documentary Photography from the University of Wales Newport and the London College of Communication. She is engaged with education, regularly lecturing at universities and teaching workshops around the world.