Emeric Lhuisset: Hundred Portraits of Demonstrators from Maydan Square in Ukraine

Emeric Lhuisset grew up in France and currently spends his time between the Middle East and Paris. Across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Colombia, Emeric Lhuisset combines his background in geopolitics with his talent for visual arts, questioning representations of conflict and our perceptions of it. When asked to describe his work, he replies, “I am not a photojournalist. I would more define myself as a visual artist." With the exhibition “Maydan-Hundred Portraits”, Lhuisset introduces us to the Ukranian revolution of February 2014. The main square in the center of Kiev, Maydan is the site on which thousands of Ukrainians united in protest against government corruption and Russia’s grip on their country. The situation quickly escalated when protesters were fired upon by the authorities, leading to the deaths of more than 100 people, now referred to as the “Heavenly Hundred”.

Ukraine – 
On Maydan Square in Kiev, French photographer Émeric Lhuisset (b. 1983) created a compelling series of portraits of the demonstrators. He asked all of them two questions, which they answered on a sheet of paper: – What would you like to see happening now? – What do you think will happen? With Maydan – Hundred Portraits, Lhuisset introduces us to the faces of the revolution in February 2014. The protests united thousands of Ukrainians who were tired of the government’s corruption and the Russian grip on their country. The situation escalated when protesters were fired upon by the authorities, leading to the death of more than 100 people – referred to as the ‘Heavenly Hundred’.

EL-Maydan-Hundred_Portraits President Yanukovych and his government fled. For a short period of time, power belonged to the people. Realized during this moment when everything seemed possible, this series of 100 portraits conveys a shared and universal sense of hope. Be it in the eyes of the young nurse or the elderly Cossack, one can read the same determination, the same commitment. Together with the written interviews, each photograph becomes the testimony of a recent moment that is already long gone. As the French art critic Adrien Goetz wrote in the introduction to the book, “The strength of these images goes with the force of these words, scribbled by each, but in the name of all (…)”.
Published by Andre Frere Editions, ‘Maydan – Hundred Portraits’ was selected among the 10 best photography books of 2014 by Huis Marseille Museum Photo, Markus Schaden (Director of PhotoBookMuseum in Cologne) and among the Best Dutch Book Design 2014, Maydan – Hundred Portraits was also presented at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

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