Maria Turchenkova born in Moscow 1987, is currently based between Moscow, Paris and Erbil. Turchenkova is a member of the Getty Reportage Emerging Talent and participated 2013 in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam. In 2014 she was selected one of “PDN´s 30: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch”. Her work has appeared in TIME Magazine, NYT, Le Monde, Der Speigel, La Republica, Arte TV and others.
After five years of radio journalism Maria Turchenkova took up photography. Since 2011 her attention has focused primarily on the North Caucasus (Russia) where she conducted a long-term project ‘Hidden War In The Land Of Mountains’ concerning the ongoing armed conflict in the region. Since the crisis broke out in Ukraine, with annexation of Crimea and revolt in East Ukraine, Maria Turchenkova has been working on her project “People’s republic of chaos”, telling about the war in Donbass. At the same time Maria works on her personal project in the Middle East.
Dagestan, North Caucasus, Russia
The Republic of Dagestan in North Caucasus, Russia, with a population of about 3 million, is comprised of more then 40 ethnic groups where ethnic Russians make up roughly 4,5%. Despite the reduction of large-scale military operations 10 years ago in Chechnya and Grozny emerging after decades of chaos under the autocratic rule of Kadyrov, the neighboring Dagestan is locked in a cycle of violence, and unlawfulness, which affects every family. In fact anyone, can appear under pressure, threat and suspect. While it stays out of news agenda in the central part of Russia, Dagestan today has almost a half of its territory under a special security regimen (CTO, or “counter-terrorist operation”) and populace endures martial law, rigid curfews and random searches enforced by the Russian military.
Dagestan today is split by seemingly intractable social and religious differences. The gap between the richest and the poorest is enormous. Salafism — a puritanical form of Islam — is largely raising its profile against the Sufi Muslims, complicating the already tangled political and religious picture.
The women in Dagestan have traditionally enjoyed more freedom in comparison to Chechnya, but the spread of violence and radical Islam has changed their lives. While the Russian part of the Caucasus, including Dagestan, is under Russian law, nowadays the women here find themselves suppressed either by custom or Sharia law, exempt from legal support of the authorities and the applicable legal system. As a result they become victims of killings of honor, kidnappings, domestic violence, sexual abuse, torture, acts of terrorism and counterterrorism. Meanwhile the story of the women’s sufferings often stay in the shadows and those who are guilty are rarely punished, as the problems of women are taboo for public discussion in the Caucasian part of Russia.
While with only officially more than 3000 victims of the ongoing armed conflict during past 5 years, Dagestan remains the undisputed leader in the level of violence among the regions of North Caucasus / Maria Turchenkova
Hidden War In the Land of Mountains is a long-term project by photojournalist Maria Turchenkova. This is her first solo exhibition in Sweden. Maria Turchenkova´s photography on top, IN A GARDEN, released in a limited edition and represented by Galleri Duerr at the Affordable Art Fair Stockholm 2016.
Maria Turchenkova´s first solo exhibition in Sweden, Hidden War, will be released at Lydmar December 2, curated by Galleri Duerr. The exhibition continues to February 26.