MAIDAN – Portraits from the Black Square by Anastasia Taylor-Lind is a series of portraits of anti-government protestors and mourners made in a makeshift photographic studio in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), Kiev during February 2014.
In November 2013, President Yanukovych’s government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in favour of stronger ties with Russia. Thousands of civilians poured into central Kiev to take part in peaceful protests. Developments including new anti-protest laws, abductions and beatings of opposition activists and police attacks on student protestors led to intensified demonstrations as thousands of highly organised protestors prepared for battle, stockpiling homemade weapons and mass-producing improvised body armour.
When Taylor-Lind arrived in central Kiev on 1 February 2014, Independence Square was under siege, surrounded by police loyal to the government. Violent clashes on the 20 February left 112 confirmed dead. The following day President Yanokovych fled Ukraine.
The portraits have been uniformly shot against the black backdrop of Taylor-Lind’s improvised studio, removing them from the context of the barricades just a few feet away. The ‘fighters’ are identified by their homemade body armour, and the ‘mourners’ by the bunches of flowers they have brought to pay their respects to the dead. Captured with an air of stillness and reflection, these photographs show the individuals involved in, and impacted by, the unrest.
London-based Anastasia Taylor-Lind is an English/Swedish documentary photographer. Her work often explores the lives of young women living or working in gender-segregated environments. Taylor-Lind has recently documented the everyday lives of young Siberian supermodels trying to make it to the West, female guerrilla fighters in the Kurdish mountains, Cossack cadet schools in Russia and young mothers in the unrecognised republic of Nagorno Karabakh. A member of VII photo agency she has worked for National Geographic Magazine, GEO, The Sunday Times Magazine, Time, The Telegraph Magazine, and Marie Claire amongst others. Taylor-Lind’s awards include the FNAC Photojournalism Grant (2011), first place in the POYi Feature Story category (2012) and the Center Project Award (2012). Her work has been exhibited at Saatchi Gallery, The Frontline Club and the National Portrait Gallery in London; SIDE Gallery, Newcastle; Pikto Gallery in Toronto and the New Mexico Museum of Modern Art, Santa Fe.