Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot
International Photography Grant 2020

The true nature of national identity and our elemental need to bond with patriotism is questioned in the face of portraits of nationalists of a country that doesn’t exist, but whose symbols have exerted a potent enough influence to maintain a frozen conflict for 25 years.

During the split of the USSR this sliver of land between Ukraine and Moldova was the only part not to willingly secede. Invisible on any maps outside of its borders, it remains unrecognized by any UN state. But in 1992 a bloody war was fought between Moldovans and Transnistrian separatists and now it remains caught between its Soviet history, current de facto independence and a dream of annexation by Russia.

My aim is to explore patriotism, nationalism and identity in the post-Soviet Republics. Many of these issues are still causing substantial problems today in places like Eastern Ukraine, Abkazia and South Ossetia. My aim is to explore their identities through a series of portraits of those that claim patriotism; whilst exposing their complex issues of identity. The Cossack who is a monarchist, The foreign minister who longs for her country to be part of another (Russia), the shop assistant who hangs pictures of, Putin, Stalin and the Transnistrian President next to each other. They all form the fabric of an alienated society.

Website: justinbarton.com
Twitter: @barton_justin

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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Justin Barton: Transnistrian Patriot

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International Photography Grant 2020