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Junior Space is pleased to present Sleeping Districts, the first solo exhibition of Melbourne based photographer, Peter Tarasiuk. Shot during an excursion to his ancestral Lithuania and Ukraine in late 2015, the collection of photographs depicts the stark, unlikely beauty of ex-Soviet Eastern Europe as seen through the lens of a curious and partially cognisant outsider.
“My heritage is Ukrainian and Lithuanian and I wanted to experience my parents’ countries first hand” says Tarasiuk. “The aim was also to take photos. I wasn’t sure of what, but wanted to be guided by these places”.
The term ‘sleeping districts’ refers to the gloomy, featureless Soviet-built mini districts that popped up in many Soviet-occupied countries between 1955 and 1994. Existing suburbs were abolished to make way for a spread of monotonous, multi-storey housing projects, designed for economy and functionality, not beauty.
The exhibition provides a glimpse into modern Lithuania and Ukraine’s un-touristed timelessness; with images of snowy landscapes, spartan streetscapes and a series of incongruously colourful roadside bus stops. “Visiting these places gave me a strange sense of comfort. I was walking the streets of my ancestors and seeing things they saw. It’s an unusual feeling being a tourist but without anyone thinking you are. There tends to be a comforting sense on melancholy in Eastern Europe” Tarasiuk explains.
Peter Tarasiuk is a commercial photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. His work appears regularly in publications such as Monocle, Gourmet Traveller, Australian Traveller and Smith Journal. In 2014 he was awarded a prize at for ‘Excellence in Colour’ at the CCP Salon.
Sleeping Districts is Peter’s first solo show. The collection of 17 photographs will be shown at Fitzroy’s Junior Space over two weeks, with an opening night party on Thursday, September 22.