A long-term project by photojournalist Maria Turchenkova in the Republic of Dagestan in North Caucasus, Russia. Dagestan with a population of about 3 million is comprised of more then 40 ethnic groups where ethnic Russians make up roughly 4,5%. Dagestan today is split by seemingly intractable social and religious differences. The gap between the richest and the poorest is enormous.
The women in Dagestan have traditionally enjoyed more freedom in comparison to the neighboring 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, 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.
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, while the armed conflict between the Islamist fighters and special forces still takes place. This affects every family with the loss of loved ones, displacement and loss of their homes, poverty, family separation and dissolution. In fact anyone can fall victim to pressure, threats and suspicion.
Hidden War in the Land of Mountains is a long-term project by photojournalist
Maria Turchenkova. This is her first solo exhibition in Sweden. She was born
in Moscow 1987 and 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.
Maria Turchenkova´s first solo exhibition in Sweden, curated by Galleri Duerr, will be shown at Lydmar December 2 – February 26.
A podcast conversation between Maria Turchenkova and Zakir Magomedov, a young journalist and chief editor at Daptar web portal and women’s magazine – the first of its kind in North Caucasus working with women’s rights in Dagestan – highlighting the issue What happens to women’s position in times of conflict and radicalization? Podcast release in December.