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VASA Front Page Project

The VASA Front Page Project
presents the work of a photographer, video and sound artist.

Front Page #40 marks the start of ten years of VASA exhibiting the work of international artist to over 7000 VASA international members.

Postcards Home

Lia Dostlieva, Ukraine/Poland

(In Donetsk, there were no real mountains so we had to stare at slag heaps instead and dream, 2018) 

Dostlieva© Lia Dostlieva


Lia Dostlieva (b. 1984, Donetsk, Ukraine, lives in Poland) is an artist, curator, and cultural anthropologist.

In 2014, when the separatist coup in the Eastern Ukraine and the artist's home city of Donetsk put the region under the rule of Russia's proxies, Lia Dostlieva was studying art in Poznan, Poland. She has never had a chance to go back home to collect her personal belongings. Unlike many of her fellow citizens she found herself one of the huge crowd (1.8 million by official count only) of internally displaced persons from Donbas without even having to flee from the area. This painful experience left a bleeding scar on her artistic work.

"I’m  working across a wide range of media including photography, installations, multimedia, textile sculptures, interventions into urban space, etc., since 2011.  The primary areas of my research are the issues of empathy, trauma and postmemory. War and trauma themes were repeatedly present in my art practice since the time my country has been at war. I am particularly interested in how trauma comes to language, possibilities of representation of traumatic events and how “difficult knowledge” could be described and visualized." (From Lia Dostlieva's Artist statement)

The project presented here on VASA is a series of postcard-like montages, in which the artist uses fragments of anonymous photos acquired at flee markets, and magazine cutouts. The lengthy project title (In Donetsk, there were no real mountains so we had to stare at slag heaps instead and dream) reveals the nostalgia concealed behind the fictitious montane scenery. The illegible handwriting that curves around the edges of image elements conveys an obscure message. In this project Lia Dostlieva attempts to re-creat her no longer available past life, as if sending postcards addressed to the lost homeland, to non-existent home


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