FOTODOK announces the winner and runners up of its very first Open Call for a commissioned project. In preparation for the move to our new location at De Machinerie in 2023–2024, we are excited to explore the overarching theme of “Grounding” during this period. This Open Call forms part of this exploration—particularly regarding an exhibition that will focus around the various communities of Utrecht and its province, with works produced by artists connected to the area.
We are very proud to announce that the winner of the call is Hanna Hrabarska (born in Ukraine and based in Austerlitz, Utrecht province). The runners up are: Lin Chun Yao (born in Taiwan and based in Utrecht) and Roos Klijn (born in the Netherlands and based in Utrecht). Congratulations!
The winner will receive a fee of €5000 to develop a project; participate in a group exhibition; and present a teaser for their project during the Utrecht 900 program, which celebrates Utrecht’s 900th anniversary. Runners up will receive personal consultations about their projects from the artistic team members of FOTODOK; free access to FOTODOK Book Club events in 2022 and 2023; and a selection of photobooks.
The jury was comprised of Leana Boven (curator, Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, Utrecht), Shehera Grot (curator, Kunsthal, Rotterdam), and Daria Tuminas (curator, FOTODOK, Utrecht). After going through all of strong applications, together they selected Hanna Hrabarska’s proposal My Mom Wants To Go Back Home (working title, 2022–ongoing). The photographer proposed to focus on the personal story of her mother and herself, who had to leave Ukraine in February 2022 once war broke out. They ended up in the Utrecht province of Austerlitz. On one hand, as mother and daughter, they are a community of their own, and on the other, they are building from scratch a new community with the local citizens of Utrecht, alongside friends and acquaintances who also fled from Ukraine and ended up in Utrecht. Beside this consideration of community is a parallel reflection on the concept and the experience of living as a refugee from war.
Hanna Hrabarska says: “In the course of one week, I had to abandon not one, but two homes: my cozy apartment in Kyiv city center that I had bought just a couple of years ago and hadn’t even finish the renovations; and my mother’s home where I was born and raised and where I was coming back to monthly . . . We found our new place here, but we are still in the process of finding our new identities. I could never have imagined myself as a war refugee. Is it a temporary status? Or is it a label? Why do I feel ashamed? And what should I feel instead? . . . I started to shoot our story in the form of a visual diary the next morning after we left Kryvyi Rih. I keep on shooting here, in Austerlitz, until I find answers.”
The jury states: “We were convinced by the proposal and accompanying photographs. They have a very personal touch and openness, and the artist shows in the application the dedication to develop the documentary direction of her practice. She also highlights the relevance of this opportunity for her in terms of specific consultations and mentorship about the project. The project strongly relates to the subject of community, and unpacks it from a very urgent perspective.”
Hanna Hrabarska is a Ukrainian photographer, journalist, and photography teacher. Before the war in Ukraine, she was running a small portrait studio in the center of Kyiv and touring around the world with music bands and techno DJs. In the course of her 11-year career in photography, Hrabarska’s work was published in numerous media outlets, such as Die Zeit, Vogue, Forbes, Cicero, NRC, and others. Her photos have been exhibited in galleries in France, Germany, Norway, and the US. Hrabarska is passionate about documentary photography.
Leana Boven is a cultural programmer, curator, and researcher with a background in gender and (post)colonial studies. Her work revolves around counter-culture, diasporic togetherness and belonging, spatial justice, decolonial climate justice, and collective and communal care. Leana curated the exhibition On Collective Care & Togetherness (2020–2021) at MAMA, Rotterdam. Currently, Leana works as a curator at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, Utrecht. She also co-curated the SALWA Gatherings at SALWA, and is curating three exhibitions as part of Wider Perspectives this year for Gemaal op Zuid. Leana teaches at Willem de Kooning Academie, Rotterdam.
Shehera Grot is a curator at Kunsthal Rotterdam. Among other things, she is responsible for the photography exhibitions and is involved in projects focusing on social engagement, co-creation, and social impact. In her role as a curator, she actively forges connections with the city of Rotterdam, enabling stories that inhabit it to find their way to Kunsthal where they can be seen and heard by the widest possible audience. Grot also works as an autonomous photographer.
Daria Tuminas is a curator at FOTODOK. Between 2017 and December 2019, Tuminas worked as the head of Unseen Book Market and Unseen Dummy Award at Unseen Amsterdam. She obtained an MA in folklore and mythology at St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, and an MA in film and photographic studies at Leiden University, Leiden. Tuminas regularly contributes texts to various media, to name just a few: in 2017, she was the guest editor of The Photobook Review 12 published by Aperture; in 2018, she contributed a chapter on East European photobooks to How We See: Photobooks by Women by 10 x 10 Photobooks; in 2020, she co-wrote a text “Is a Book Worth a Tree?” for YET 12; co-edited doc! photo magazine 46; and in 2022, wrote a portfolio essay on Czar Kristoff’s practice for Foam Magazine 61: Talent.
You can find the original announcement of the Open Call here.
This Open Call was made possible with the support of: Gemeente Utrecht, Mondriaan Fonds, and Utrecht 900.