1 / 4       Civilians escape from a fire at a house destroyed by the air attack in the Luhanskaya village. © Valery Melnikov.
2 / 4       Refugee family and their child in the bus at the border crossing point (Luhansk region). © Valery Melnikov.
3 / 4       During the visit to the exhibit Black Days of Ukraine by Valery Melnikov. © FPmag.
4 / 4       Valery Melnikov during the guided visit to his exhibit Black Days of Ukraine. © Silvia Brambilla/Festival della Fotografia Etica.

Days of Fury

The insight offered by the exhibition section A glance on the world – consisting of five exhibitions held at Palazzo Modignani – does not give a reassuring picture of the current global situation. It is a partial fresco, of course, which does not surprise entirely, but certainly worries. We know well how discrimination, injustice and abuse of various kinds are on the agenda in many countries of the world, even those who are normally inclined to be viewed as free from certain problems, and it takes just reading the newspapers from time to time to find out how for many people the difficulties related to the surfacing of a deep national economic crisis, or worse, to the establishment of a state of war suddenly becomes part of daily life. A life that is suddenly turned upside down, torn from its normal and more or less peaceful flow to be thrown into the abyss of fear and the unpredictable. This is what strikes you most looking through the entirety of the works on display at Palazzo Modignani at the sixth edition of the Festival of Ethical Photography: the creepy feeling of never really being safe. The latent awareness that wherever things could suddenly plummet, even in our country, veering toward horizons that we can imagine with great difficulty in the comfort of our homes and of our loved ones.
Black Days of Ukraine by Valery Melnikov says just that. Scrolling through his images is in fact retracing the most difficult and bloody days lived by the population of Luhansk, a quiet town in the south-east of Ukraine which unfortunately became, a centre of strategic importance for military operations carried out by the conflict between separatists and the official Ukrainian authorities. A conflict characterised by a growing tension and, as it was easy to foresee, soon changed into a real war. In the summer of 2014, this transformed the entire region where this town is in to a hot spot and, as often happens in these cases, to pay the highest price for this metamorphosis were the common people. «The civilian population – said Melnikov – had to survive without water and electricity under daily bombardment. Each day could be their last. There are always at least two armed factions fighting in every war. Being a photojournalist, the most important of the alliances for me was the third: the common people. The catastrophe came unexpectedly into their lives. These people seemed to participate in the military conflict against their will. They lived the most terrible experiences: the death of friends and relatives, houses demolished and the lives of thousands of people destroyed. According to the Federal Migration Service more than 900,000 Ukrainian citizens are displaced. The fate of those who remain is to live each day as if it were their last».
If the background of the work by Melnikov is saturated with colours, fear and violence, then unfold in to some of the bloodiest phases of a conflict now sadly infamous and, unfortunately, not solved, in the forefront overlooking the dismay and despair of who had perhaps smelt an impending disaster, but had hoped until the last moment, and perhaps prayed that that dark feeling did not take root. That the dark foreboding did not come true. [ S. B. ]

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BLACK DAYS OF UKRAINE
by Valery Melnikov
Palazzo Modignani | 10-11 / 17-18 / 24-25 October 2015
admission fee: 10,00 € (valid for the visit to all other exhibitions)


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[ INTERNAL RESOURCES ]
FFE2015 on FPmag

[ EXTERNAL RESOURCES ]
Black Days of Ukraine
A glance on the world
Festival of Ethical Photography
Valery Melnikov

published on 2015-10-28 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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