Vlada Stoliarova is a London-based photographer who loves taking portraits of strong women. Her grandmother is from Ukraine, and as a child Vlada spent most summers in a remote village in Cherkasy province. She often returns to a mental image she has of those days: a whitewashed cottage with thatched roof, a huge orchard to lose yourself in, a pine forest, marshland… Now that the country’s very landscape is being altered by war, Vlada believes it’s more important than ever to record the memories of Ukraine’s nezlamna women. 

Katia Duncan is a Ukrainian who’s been living in the UK for nearly three decades. As well as a producer for NEZLAMNA, she’s the founder of Trafalgar Girls , a volunteer project that’s helped thousands of Ukrainian refugees since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. For Katia, NEZLAMNA is about looking past the anonymous statistics and shining a light on the unique stories of the women affected. 

Katia and Vlada would like to thank Will Mann for helping edit this project. Will has visited Ukraine many times and the country has a special place in his heart. Thank you to everyone who played a part, no matter how small, in shaping this project.

A NOTE ON TERMINOLOGY: The 24th of February 2022 was the day Russia’s full-scale invasion began. It’s a day engraved in the memory of all Ukrainians, and in their stories the women use “the war” in reference to this new aggression. However, Russia’s war against Ukrainian sovereignty began in 2014, with the invasion and annexation of Crimea and the use of proxy forces in the eastern regions.

SELECTION PROCESS: We appealed for Ukrainian women refugees’ stories via the Trafalgar Girls project. We felt the 18 featured were the most representative, but we’d like to thank everyone who contributed for their powerful stories. 

PLAYLIST: To accompany the project we’ve created a NEZLAMNA playlist featuring Ukrainian female artists. You can hear some of the songs on the NEZLAMNA Instagram or listen to the full playlist on Spotify here

©️Nezlamna. 2023

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