Andrii Dostliev

Lia Dostlieva, Andrii Dostliev, Olga Skliarska

Sweet waters broke / Відійшли солодкі води

ongoing since 2021

photographic triptychs


It is a collection of visual stories about childhood which might seem to be referring to grim folk fairy tales with their gloomy aesthetics and feelings of loss and danger. But these pictures are based on direct quotes from memoirs by people who as children had experienced deportations, life in exile, war, or imprisonment. Sweet sugar mass used to build sculptural scenes for the photos can be associated with common childhood experiences and yet is flexible enough to serve as material for non-childish stories.

Images were produced for the 'Lost childhood' project realised by Territory of Terror museum (Lviv, Ukraine) and Post Bellum (Czechia) with EU support via House of Europe programme.

"…there stood a car and there were grandpa and grandma, it was summer but she was wearing a worm coat and a shawl. It was green and checkered, I still remember. I started running but they caught me. One of the escorting soldiers offered me a chocolate bar but I did not take it."

"…when we were entering the Ural mountains, there was a tunnel, but we, kids, did not know that. We saw the first cars of the train enter a giant oven and started screaming that they were going to burn us all. Screaming and praying."

"We were being escorted by a cutter with NKVDsts. They stole a cub from a polar bear and she was following us, screaming, trying to climb onto our barge. It was pure mayhem."

"At the orphanage for children of enemies of the state we were forbidden to laugh."

"…and a parcel arrived from Ukraine. A plywood box with all sorts of sweets and there were also glass icicles for the Christmas tree. We always had a very beautiful Christmas tree with a sugar angel on top. So much joy!"

"It was cold, there was no food. I have no idea how my mother managed to survive. I would ask her what should I cook the soup with and she would answer 'With a nail'. Always joking."