Land of No-Return by Viktoria Sorochinski

Viktoria Sorochinski left the USSR with her parents in 1990, aged 11. After living in Israel, she continued her studies of Fine Arts in Montreal, then in New York City, where she acquired her Masters of Fine Arts in 2008. She is currently living and working in Berlin, Germany. Her work has been widely exhibited and published throughout Europe, North and South America and Asia. 

I was born in Ukraine, and my grandparents lived in one of the small villages near Kiev. I remember visiting this place as a child. Those memories are filled with light and happiness.

When I visited this village again for the first time after many years of immigration, I was astonished at how lifeless and miserable it looked. Those who remained there were almost exclusively the elderly. They are living out their last days in those places, neglected by the government and often abandoned even by their families. They are gradually disappearing together with their traditions and their deteriorating homes.

Over the last 10 years, I came to Ukraine several times and photographed the villages surrounding its capital.

For me this series is a kind of tribute to the past. This project is the most personal of all my works because it is directly related to my grandfather and great grandmother who were born and who are buried in one of these villages.

However, even though this project started as a personal journey, the more I worked on it, the more I realized that capturing and commemorating these people and places has a greater value. They are the last remaining evidence of the once magical and vibrant culture that will soon be known only from the history books. 

All photos by Viktoria Sorochinski