Mariya Kozhanova  – DISTANT THUNDER

Kaliningrad region is a small enclave with long and ambivalent history, separated by all sides from the Russian mainland. Before World War II, it was German territory, the heart of East Prussia. After the end of the war, it became part of the Soviet Union. When the last German citizens were forced to leave this land, many people from other soviet countries were sent “by distribution” to build up a new history of this place. Three generations were building their lives on this land which somehow still remains foreign”. This forgotten piece of land had faced two great powers of the world that once held both supreme ideals and sovereign ambitions which now became a shameful part of the human timeline. It becomes an allegory - those silent reminders of epochs that took place not so long time ago.

Times of great ideals were giving people guidance in their life, while working towards the highest principle of the Common Good, letting them aim for eternity. But greatness that has been owed back to people for their hard work and dedication was never returned. It was lost on the pages of history as the Greatness of Regime or Greatness of God. Now we got stuck in constant transitions, having no believes anymore, but times filled with doubts and unreliability.

It is like a face with a mark from the terrible sublime of the past, a Generation Memory. This feeling of uncertainty is not only coming from the fact that once there have been national ideals that brought us for instance to holocaust and concentration camps, but also because remembering the suffering from persecutions, nobody could be sure that it would not happen again. It teaches kind people to live the life of "small actions", cultivating peace inside of them, believing that nothing great and dangerous could happen like this. Meanwhile, time-spirals spin and it comes the moment when it is time to get the courage to look into the future by dealing with the past.



Mariya Kozhanova was born in 1986 in Kaliningrad, Russia. She is a self-taught visual artist with the main dedication to photography. Mariya is mostly working with subjects connected to human intimacy, life in its most ordinary gestures and poetic voices of nature. Mariya’s works have been featured in numerous exhibitions, including FotoFest Houston, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Seoul Photo Festival, Paraty em Foco Festival, Festival de la Luz, Singapore International Photography Festival, Kaunas Photo, Photovisa, Les Boutographies, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Hellerau Photography Award, Backlight, Brandts13, Galerie Alles Mögliche Berlin, Museo Histórico Buenos Aires, Fotomuseum Winterthur, among many others.

Mariya was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass 2016. Her works have been published in Le Monde Magazine, New York Times International, Vision Magazine China, Foto Magazine Czech Republic, Emerge Magazine Germany, fotoMagazin Germany, SHOTS magazines, and others. At the moment she lives and works in Berlin, Germany.