Kateryna Pikun. Displaced woman having wings

Kateryna says she is a bird with one wing. But I’ve seen her wings.

Kateryna Pikun is mother of Vladyslav, who has a complicated type of autism. Son requires her constant attention. "I'm kind of tied to him," Kateryna says. Mom and son together attended the photo school, where the girl discovered the sensual and magical world of photos under the guidance of master Yevhen Bazaleyev.

Kateryna Pikun is the displaced person, coming from Luhansk.

"I'll remember for all my life what it means to lose everything. The old kettle, growling funny in the kitchen, your favorite books, old photo albums ... You come to a place, where you don’t even have your own cup. You have only yourself, couple of things, your document, and a child who is holding your hand. There are over a million such people like me. We are all scattered throughout different cities, which have become our new home. In Luhansk, I began to take pictures of people who supported Ukraine. It was very risky ..." Kateryna says. The memories make her voice shake.

Kateryna Pikun is author of the project "Ukraine through eyes of displaced person." The girl continued her work, begun in conflict-hit Luhansk, in this project.

There are so many similar things in Ukraine, no matter what city you are in. Her photo exhibition shows this phenomenon. There is a lot of sun, light and smiles at her photos. Although, there are sad glances also, as that of a five-year Deniska, who told her, "I miss home. We'll go home. Our guys will win, and we will go ..."

Kateryna travelled along Ukrainian cities and showed her Ukraine through photos. Each pair of photos, two different but at the same time similar depictions, shows that Ukraine has more things that unite us rather than divide.

"In June, I was in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kamenets-Podolsky, Odesa. And I’ve made sure that there so much common things in our country – in architecture, in images, in objects ..." Kateryna tells her story.

She continues, "In Lviv, a grandson counted the wrinkles on his grandfather’s hand. Then he said, ‘You have a lot of wrinkles. You have lived a long life. You're very smart.’ Grandfather had tears in his eyes, not because of old age but because he felt he was with the people, whom he should be with.”

"This guy is from Odesa. I was so upset that I had not taken photos of sailors. But then I suddenly saw them ... I ran to that guys with such joy that they were scared by me at first, as if I had met aliens. One guy allowed me to take his portrait photo. They are very strong, beautiful people," Kateryna recalls another meeting in the southern Ukrainian city.

"And here, in Dnipropetrovsk, I wanted to take a picture of an elderly lady. She took my breath away. When I was working on a photo, I realized it had much more symbols. We fall in love, have children, we meet the old age ... I want to believe that an old man is waiting for this elderly lady at home," the photographer says.

Two friends met in Dnipropetrovsk. One is from Luhansk, the other is from Lviv. They shook hands strongly. That moment was enough for Kateryna.

"I asked them, ‘What is friendship? And I heard in response: ‘Friendship has no limits, borders, barriers. If it is necessary, we will lend a helping hand to each other..."

Each photo has the story behind it. Ukraine is almost without war at the Kateryna’s photos. It’s as she saw it. It’s as it should be. It’s as it will sure to become. Five-year-old Deniska with sad eyes said that for a reason.

"Look for the answers in yourself, not in geography textbooks. Your country is you yourself," the photographer quotes her favorite singer Kuzma Skriabin. She wishes people supported each other in such a difficult time, ‘The displaced persons, such as I am, need warm attitude very much."

August 4-17, 2015, the photo exhibition "Ukraine through eyes of displaced person" will be held at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center at the address: 2 Khreshchatyk Str., the Ukrainian House. Entrance is free of charge.

The photo project "Ukraine through eyes of displaced person" is part of the campaign "We are different, we are together," implemented by the Internews-Ukraine with the support of the MATRA Program of the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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