The Republic of Moldova was part of the Soviet Union. Today, it is an independent country with a self-declared Transnistrian region in the East, an autonomous Turkish-speaking Gagauzian province in the South, a border to Ukraine to the North, one to Romania and the EU to the West. Photographing the Moldovan national football is the attempt to show daily life in a nation looking for normality, while building new identities facing its controversial past and present.
The stadium is a space where positions are shared and outed reflecting the society outside of it. As a Soviet heritage, sport culture plays an important role and though football is a new phenomenon in the country, it succeeds to reflect its societal context: along with symbols of the past disappearing from the landscape of the stadia, new ones appear and occasionally underlying conflicts are acerbated.
The football national landscape embodies most of the contrasts Moldova is rich on. It also provides a centre around which local identities are reinforced but at the same time it works as sole common ground for communication, where clubs from the different regions play together every Sunday on a shared field, accepting to sit side by side on the bench while running for the goal to win.
Chiara Dazi was born in the Italian Po valley. She studied languages and received a degree in communication sciences at the Università di Bologna with a thesis on German Ostalgie, or nostalgia for the former GDR. After working three years at the archive of the agency VU’ in Paris, she focused on her personal photography projects. She is interested in European issues, how we deal with borders and collective memories and the influence those have on identities. She mainly approaches her subjects with empathy and a regard for intimacy. Now working as a documentary photographer in Berlin, after graduating from Berlin’s Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie with her project Wandertage about the traditional trip of the German craftsmen and craftswomen communities. Currently researching on border-crossing sports communities in the Republic of Moldova.