Dean O'Brien's Blog

350mc: Dana Popa ‘not Natasha’ Exhibition Dublin

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If there is one exhibition that is going to help, inspire or just give me some empathy with the subjects who I am going to shoot over the next 12 months , this is it.  I only found out at the last minute via twitter that  ‘not Natasha’ by Dana Popa  was on in Dublin.  I missed the opening event where Dana gave a talk but managed to catch the exhibition before it finished.

‘not Natasha’ traces the fractured and damaged lives of young girls and women caught up in human trafficking for prostitution within Europe.  Dana Popa is a native of Romania, and her focus is on women who originate from the neighbouring Republic of Moldova, the poorest nation in Europe and from which thousands choose to migrate each year – Artists Statement, courtesy of Autograph ABP, London.

You cannot help but drawn into these images.  They contain real emotion.  Not only of the girls, but the empty spaces which they left behind.  A body of work such as this demands more than just portraits.  Dana wanted to pull ‘you’ the viewer, into the their world .  Their home surroundings.  The use of short text helps one to relate to the image before them.

Slowly looking around the exhibition I felt connected in some way.  I’m not sure if its because the women look so similar to many that I have met whilst on my travels in Eastern Europe.  Either way, it made me more determined than ever to kick start my own project.

In all honest my only criticism is the fact the the actual book does not give the images justice.  Measuring only 6.5″ x 5″, and only available in paperback I feel that a larger hardback version would bring more attention to the work.  Like I say, thats my only criticism of an exceptional body of work.

My project for my third and final year at university goes along similar lines.  It will see me travelling to the Ukraine and later hopefully to Moldova.

Further information on this and other projects by Dana can be found HERE

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Written by Dean O'Brien

August 12, 2011 at 9:50 pm

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