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Promising Waters

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For over four years, photographer Mila Teshaieva has documented the transformation of the three former Soviet republics on the shores of the Caspian Sea: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The project takes the viewer on a subtle and complex journey through the promises of a new oil region, raising questions as to the relationship between the state and private identity, the ties between past, present and future, and how to pinpoint the boundary between rise or fall.

This exhibition explores the concept of border as social and spatial construct and examines the complexities of establishing personal identity in areas of geopolitical instability. What social and cultural impact is felt when states are formed and disbanded, official languages sanctioned or forbidden, borders drawn then erased? When national boundaries shift, must personal identity? To what extent does a political territory influence the formation of the self?

Mila Teshaieva grew up in Kiev, Ukraine and was initially trained as an economist before turning her professional pass into documentary photography in 2004. Ever since, she engaged herself into long-term projects on the territories of former USSR, in particular, she dedicated last years working in the Caucasus and Caspian Sea region. This four-year journey resulted in her first monograph Promising Waters that was released with Kehrer Verlag in 2013 and in 2014.

For more information, please visit Haggerty Museum of Art and Mila Teshaieva

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