Man Standing in Between Fields



"Sea Heals" is a project about migration transformation, reworking old injuries and a search for new home

by Elena Rabkina and Aleksandr Uriev

Story Background

On 9th August 2020 Aleksandr Lukashenko went to his sixth presidential term after rigged elections, and mass violent protests began in Belarus. On the night of August 9-10, grenades began to explode in Minsk and shots were heard.

From that moment on, the confrontation between security officials and ordinary citizens in

the country does not stop - people are fleeing the country en masse. More than 35,000 people had been arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly or expressing solidarity with victims of abuse. more than 1500 people are recognised as political prisoners, hundreds more remain in the dungeons of isolation wards and prisons.

The Belarusian authorities are persecuting doctors, journalists and teachers. “Akrestsina” - the name of the street on which the detention center in Minsk is located - has become synonymous with monstrous torture and rape. A year later, Alexander Lukashenko continues to receive Russian loans and remains in the presidency, although many countries do not consider him president.

The project examines the stories of Belarusian migrants to Odessa, associated with protests and political events in 2020-22 .

The Belarusians who survived the

clash with the security forces,

detention, and persecution are

forced to look for a new home.

It is more than 400 000 people that fled Belarus. Many of them chose Ukraine as a new home.

«Sea Heals» (2021) is a retrospective project that through photography tells the stories of Belarusian refugees in the search of their new home at the moment before war came to Odessa, Ukraine.

The project consists of 8 portraits is exhibited in a dark room with the soundtrack that contains the sounds of the sea and extracts from the participants’ interviews about home.

The work "Sea Heals" was exhibited at Brunnenpassage, Vienna, Austria in 2022.