There is an old legend the Abkhaz people like to tell to the visitors:
“When God gave each nation its place under the sun, the Abkhaz was too busy
taking care of his guests so he came in late and there was no land left for him.
But God remembered the great hospitality of the Abkhaz, so he gifted him the
only place left where God himself wanted to live – the small region on the shores
of the Black Sea.”
Unfortunately, the reality is a distorted reflection of this legend. Once one of the most beloved touristic regions of the Russian Empire and later of the Soviet Union, Abkhazia really is lost on the world map. Separated after the Georgian civil war of 1992, it’s a state recognized only by Russia and just a couple of other countries. A hostage of the foreign policy of its giant northern neighbor and its imperialistic ambitions, Abkhazia is long forgotten by the global media circus as well as by international politics. Without any real industry, infrastructure or educational power it survives on occasional nostalgic tourism from ex-USSR citizens, foreign Abkhaz diaspora and scarce Russian alimony. ‘Abkhazia’ is a portrait of a country caught in a two-decade long sleep without any signs of waking up in sight. It researches the everyday life of people who try to exist within this uncertainty, in a system that doesn’t have a future nor seeks one.
is a Russian photographer based between Germany and Russia. Kuleshova graduated from Moscow Aviation Institute with a degree in Public Relations. Kuleshova completed Bachelor’s in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover, and is currently enrolled in a Master’s of Photographic Studies at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Dortmund. Kuleshova’s work is inspired by the strength of people’s characters, passion for life and love, and the aesthetics of beauty, art, and travel. Kuleshova’s work has been published in DIE ZEIT, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Lens blog, and ZEIT LEO. In 2012, Kuleshova was awarded a scholarship at the German political foundation, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, and in 2017, won the TIPC 2017 and PDN Photo Annual 2017. Kuleshova is also a LHSA Grant recipient and VG-Bild Kunst Scholarship recipient. In 2018, Kuleshova will be a participant of the 6th annual New York Portfolio Review and The Joop Swart Masterclass 2018.