Oxfam’s After The Thaw Exhibition Reveal Poverty Of Ex-Soviet States

By Jenni Marsh

9th November, 2011

The world watched in wonder as the Soviet Union crumbled but, 20 years
after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, these pictures reveal
how people are still crippled by poverty.

Traditional: Teenage girls in the village of Kaftakharna, Tajikistan,
brush up on their makeover skills by drawing on the popular monobrow
(Picture: ANDY HALL/OXFAM) .Oxfam’s After The Thaw exhibition depicts
how Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan and even parts of Russia
are battling terrible economic and physical hardship.

Lysbeth Holdaway, a spokeswoman for Oxfam, said: ‘A lot of people don’t
have a clue where countries such as Tajikistan are – they aren’t in
the Western consciousness and have been left behind.

‘When the Soviet Union collapsed, they couldn’t continue on their own.

They didn’t have their own markets.’

Life is hard: Irifat Babyan braves the sub-zero temperatures to look
at her snow-covered apricot trees in Armenia’s southern province of
Vayots Dzor (Picture: ABBIE TRAYLER-SMITH/OXFAM) .In Georgia, two
Russian invasions – one at Ossetia in 2008 and another at Abkhazia
in the early 1990s – have left a fifth of the population displaced.

Meanwhile, Tajikistan is the poorest of the ex-Soviet states with a
gross national income of just $700 (£440) per person. Yet, amid these
images of economic despair are traces of a revival of traditional
culture and fashions.

Prayer flags on Siberian hillsides are contrasted with images showing
the hardship of rural life, while in Tajikistan young girls draw on
monobrows for beauty – the only country in the world where such a
tradition still exists.

The girls use the juice of a local herb, usma, to paint a line joining
their brows, to make them ‘beautiful, like the partridge’.

The exhibition is at The Strand Gallery in London, between November
15 and 19.

Read more:

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress


Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS