Anton Shebetko Paperwork Ukraine's Queer Historical past, One Portrait at a Time - Upsmag - Magazine News

Anton Shebetko Paperwork Ukraine’s Queer Historical past, One Portrait at a Time

Just a few years into immersing himself in and documenting the LGBTQ+ communities of Ukraine, Anton Shebetko got here to a realization: There was not such an pressing want to guard the identities of the queer Ukrainians he’d been extensively photographing and interviewing. So whereas his ebook A Very Transient and Subjective Queer Historical past of Ukraine begins with a extra common timeline (beginning all the way in which again within the eleventh century, when homosexuality was talked about in The Story of Boris and Gleb), it goes on to totally introduce readers to topics equivalent to Viktor Pylypenko, a type of he spoke to for his collection on principally closeted LGBTQ+ members of his dwelling nation’s army. Ukraine decriminalized gay relations in 1991, and whereas there’s positively nonetheless discrimination in a rustic that’s largely conservative, Shebekto has observed a rising acceptance of friends; satisfaction marches have gotten an increasing number of frequent, and simply final month, President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed that the federal government is contemplating legalizing “civil partnerships” for same-sex {couples}.

Decided to broaden his archive, Shebetko—who left behind his hometown of Kyiv for Amsterdam along with his husband a couple of years in the past—resolved to go again to Ukraine. However when Russian President Vladimir Putin declared battle in February, he was pressured to vary tack. “To Know Us Higher,” now on view at Amsterdam’s Foam Fotografiemuseum and Melkweg Expo, options portraits that had been taken within the components of Europe the place his Ukrainian topics fled. (Not simply from Ukraine, but in addition from Lugansk, Donetsk, and Crimea, which Russia has occupied lately.)

Some have since returned dwelling—regardless of, as Shebetko is effectively conscious given his mother and father’ refusal to go away Kyiv, security nonetheless being a significant concern. And within the prolonged interviews that he performed to accompany every of their portraits, Shebetko realized that many plan to do the identical. Decided to make his topics really feel utterly seen and understood, he speaks with them at size and provides them free rein to edit and rewrite the textual content as they please. He additionally goes with their alternative of picture, even when he might not assume it’s the strongest possibility. Funnily sufficient, Shebetko has returned to airing on the aspect of anonymity; he now prefers to maintain the textual content and portraiture separate. “For me, it’s about making a extra shared expertise about what it’s to be a queer Ukrainian,” he says of the exhibitions from Amsterdam over Zoom. Get to know a few of these featured within the ebook a bit higher, right here.

Ilya, featured within the collection “To Know Us Higher” by Anton Shebetko.

Photograph by Anton Shebetko

Angelique, featured within the collection “To Know Us Higher” by Anton Shebetko.

Photograph by Anton Shebetko

A portrait of a person wearing a red bandana

Zhenya, featured within the collection “To Know Us Higher” by Anton Shebetko.

Photograph by Anton Shebetko

A person wearing a jacket that reads "Russia is a terrorist state"

Klem, featured within the collection “To Know Us Higher” by Anton Shebetko.

Photograph by Anton Shebetko

A person with purple hair wearing a fluorescent yellow shirt

Laslo, featured within the collection “To Know Us Higher” by Anton Shebetko.

Photograph by Anton Shebetko

A shirtless person putting on a white shirt

Zosya, featured within the collection “To Know Us Higher” by Anton Shebetko.

Photograph by Anton Shebetko

A person with platinum blonde and blue hair smiling

Maksim, featured within the collection “To Know Us Higher” by Anton Shebetko.

Photograph by Anton Shebetko

A person sitting on a couch and touching their face
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