Culture - NOMINEE: Justin Barton
The Transnistrian Patriot
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The true nature of national identity and our elemental need to bond with patriotism is questioned in the face of portraits of individuals that wish to represent themselves as patriots of a country that is unrecognized, but whose symbols have exerted a potent enough influence to maintain a frozen conflict for 25 years.
During the split of the USSR this sliver of land between Ukraine and Moldova was the only part not to willingly secede. Invisible on any maps outside of its borders, it remains unrecognized by any UN state. But in 1992 a bloody war was fought between Moldovans and Transnistrian separatists and now it remains caught between its Soviet history, current lack of international acceptance and the dream of annexation by Russia.
1. NINA SHTANSKI - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic.
2. IRINA SMIRNOVA – Director of The Museum of The Transnistrian National Tragedy at Bendery.
3. IGOR NEBEYGOLOVA - KGB Colonel and Commander of the Cossack Regiment in Tiraspol.
4. NADEZHDA BONDARENKO - Editor of Transnistrian Newspaper 'Pravda'.
5. ANDREY SMOLENSKIY – Director of the only tour company in Transnistria.
6. TATYANA SYAROVA - Editor in chief Transnistrian TV Channel 1.
7. NATALIA YEFREMOVA - Seller of Transnistrian patriotic items in Tiraspol.
8. NIKOLAY BABILUNGA - Professor of Transnistrian History.
9. NIKOLAY SMOLENSKIY – Police Lieutenant Colonel Expert in Transnistrian Criminal Law.
10. SERGEY CHEBAN - Deputy Speaker of the Supreme Soviet
His work focuses primarily on identity and heritage. Seeking a deeper understanding of history he examines the objects and people in detail by photographing small elements and using the reflection of today to glean unusual perspectives on the past.
In 2016 he won gold in the Portrait Section of the Tokyo International Foto Awards and Silver in the Political Section and was shortlisted for the Kolga award. In 2015 he won his third International Photography Award (IPA) in 5 years and was shortlisted for the KLPA Portrait award.
In 2013 he won the Lucie Foundation Emerging Photographer Scholarship and the Still life section at the International Color Awards.
His work has been exhibited at the Singapore, Copenhagen, Belfast, Kolga and Organ Vida photo festivals
He is a co-founder and regular contributor to 'Deepsleep' the online magazine and collective devoted to contemporary art photography.