Kate Nolan is an Irish visual artist based in Dublin, Ireland. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in Documentary Photography from the University of Wales, Newport, 2010. Her long-term project Neither has been selected for various exhibitions and publications internationally. Neither is also in the process of being produced into a book which will be published in 2013. Kate combines her art practice with running photographic events, workshops and is the director of Slideluck Potshow Dublin.

 

 

Neither

“The view of this faded garden explodes my mind and I get paralyzed, I have no clue how to move two legs, let alone a thousand.” - Natasha

 

Neither is an exploration into the hearts of young women in Kaliningrad. The first generation to have grown up after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they look to define their identity in this small island within Europe. The women I have been living with and sharing with have generously opened up their homes and their minds to allow me to better understand this link between place, identity and history.

 

Kaliningrad Oblast, a small Russian enclave, is wedged within Eastern Europe separated from 'Big Russia' by Lithuania, then Belarus. It is this geographic isolation of being neither a part of Europe, nor being physically connected to the motherland that gives this area its uniqueness. The region has had a short but complex history only becoming Russian after WW11. It then closed its borders during the cold war, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union it was severed from mainland Russia. This has left Kaliningrad in the fragile position of being an exclave of Russia and an enclave of the EU.

 

This fragility is countered by the strong, independent women that have guided me through the stories of this region and the lives of the individual telling me of their dreams and fears. Caught between their strong Russian roots and the new Europe these women search out their place amidst these two worlds.