Uprooted Memories: Echoes of Our Past

Untitled #1, 2022
Digital photography
H. 16″ x W. 20″

 “I was born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Russia. My artistic photographic journey started in childhood. Then, photography was the medium of creation and a way of researching the world around. Now, it is not only a way of knowing the world and people, but as well expressing my position. “

          “The visual language of photography allows me to research themes like gender, social, cultural, and political issues. In my work, I get inspiration from my experience, people, and the culture around me. My art practice is motivated by totalitarianism, patriarchy, and inequality in Russian culture. I saw many inequalities and stereotypes in my country, and researched the role of women in society, such as body issues.”

This summer, amidst the Russia-Ukraine conflict that displaced many families, Alekseeva returned to Russia and recreated many of her childhood images, this time using her daughter as a vessel to present an alternate reality had she grown up there like her mother. Thus, Alekseeva’s photographs seek show that displacement, as well as looking to blend the barriers of past and present by presenting the same exact locations in the images, with all their changes. To the left, she places her original childhood images, and to the right, she introduces two compositions. The lower images recreate the original photograph, illustrating what her daughter’s life could’ve been like. While the upper images showcase the reality of her daughter growing up in Miami, presenting parallels between the two and bringing up questions of diaspora, time, and culture.

 As the artist explains, “These works are part of my current project. The events of 2022 caused thousands of people from both sides of the war to flee their homes and country and live in an unstable moment. I research the theme of displacement and time. It is about not knowing what’s going to happen to you, to your family, to your nation. So many questions: could we ever return to our country? Live there? Will this be safe? Will the borders close…? So, I transfer the collective situation to the individual history.  And I question which images she will choose for her childhood album.”

Untitled #3, 2022
Digital photography
H. 16″ x W. 20″


Iuliia Alekseeva was born in Saint-Peterburg, Russia in 1986. She graduated from State University named after Herzen, Saint-Petersburg in 2008 and holds a BFA from the Saint-Petersburg State University of the Culture and Arts, Russia. Currently, she is part of the MFA program at Florida International University, in Miami, USA. There, her focus of interest is photography. 

She has participated in several group exhibitions, including in St. Petersburg, Russia: St. Petersburg in Black and White at the Nevsky 20 Art Space in 2011 and The Contacts, in the Rostra gallery in 2012. In 2021 she exhibited at Twelve, in Laundromat Art Space in Miami. In 2022 she participated in the show “Musings”, exhibited at FIU’s Miami Beach Visual Arts Gallery.

Email: ialek001@fiu.edu

Instagram: @julia_v_photo