Christopher Nunn's Borderland: Stories from Donbas on display at Impressions

Borderland: Stories from Donbas

Made over a period of six years, Borderland: Stories from Donbas offers a rare glimpse of everyday life in the Donbas region.

The exhibition is the premiere and first major solo show of award-winning photographer Christopher Nunn.

Situated at the far eastern edge of Ukraine, close to the border of Russia, Donbas is the site of the only active war zone in Europe.

Anne McNeill, director of Impressions Gallery and curator of the show, said: “Nunn’s photographs are the antidote to traditional photojournalism, and the Western media’s usual representation of the conflict.

“What began as a personal project on memory and belonging has grown into an extensive body of work about the way people think and act with regards to their country, their collective identity, and their history in a time of flux.”

Borderland: Stories from Donbas at Impressions Gallery
Installation shot: Borderland: Stories from Donbas by Christopher Nunn

‘Everybody has a story to tell’

Nunn ended up in this war zone unexpectedly.

In 2013 he travelled to Kalush, Ukraine, in an attempt to learn more about his grandmother who arrived in the North of England as a displaced person just after World War II.

A year later, Nunn was still in Ukraine when the Euromaidan protests started in Kyiv.

In the subsequent five years, he has been present during the revolution, the early political chaos and ongoing war.

Nunn was drawn to small mining settlements where families relaxed by overgrown riversides, cramped apartment block kitchens, village bars and fading towns now on the doorstep of war.

“Everybody had a story to tell,” said Nunn.

“I heard hundreds of stories, from the tragic to hilarious.

“The Donbas is, to me, beautiful and brutal; a place of comedy and pain.

“The conflict existed and the people I photographed existed too.

“Many times, I heard the tired line ‘we do not live here, we just exist’.

“Most of my photographs are about simply existing.”

Images from Borderland: Stories from Donbas
Installation shot: Borderland: Stories from Donbas by Christopher Nunn

Borderland: Stories from Donbas

Borderland: Stories from Donbas presents themes including family dynamics, masculinity, freedom and togetherness, and seemingly inescapable ties with history.

Nunn’s images capture the quiet moments and the overlooked details that are mostly away from the flashpoints of fighting and the spotlight of international news.

With a constant focus on people’s everyday lives, their personal narratives and subjective struggles, his photographs tell small stories that are part of a bigger picture.

Borderland: Stories from Donbas is an Impressions Gallery touring exhibition curated by Anne McNeill.

It is free and on at Impressions until January 4, 2020.

Print sponsor Spectrum Photographic. Publication partner ESSARTER Editions.

Spectrum Photographic produced C-type Matt prints mounted to KAPA foamboard.

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