Kaliningrad is a former German city that was called Königsberg before World War II and was the capital of East Prussia. Now it is the center of the westernmost region of Russia, which is separated from the main part of the country, clutched between the former socialist republics. After 1948, when the last German citizens were forced to leave this land, settlers "by distribution" from other Soviet republics were sent here to manage the new territory. Basically, these were young people who had nothing to lose and had a whole life ahead. Three generations have grown up on this land, which has remained "alien". Many people who fell in love with this place hoped for a revival of German aesthetics and traditions. Others tried in vain to make it Russian, but the resultant force of millions of wills led to something else - something not European, but not Russian either. However, just like 70 years ago, people perceive this place as something temporary, something that they will pass and leave behind, something that does not belong to them, and which is not worth worrying about. More and more people come here and try to change the area in their own image and likeness. Those in power use the territory to their advantage as a reason or an excuse, and it seems this land has nothing to oppose it. Nevertheless, its’ memory and landscape continuously shape the consciousness of people, changing their inner world.
Mariya Kozhanova is a visual artist, working with documentary and art photography, sculpture and installation. Born in Kaliningrad in 1986, currently lives and works in Berlin.
Maria's work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including: FotoFest Houston, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Seoul Photo Festival, Paraty em Foco Festival, Festival de la Luz, Singapore International Photography Festival, Kaunas Photo, International Festival of Photography Photovisa, Les Boutographies, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Hellerau Photography Award, Backlight Photo Festival, Art Museum Brandts13, Galerie Alles Mögliche Berlin, Museo Histórico Buenos Aires, Fotomuseum Winterthur, and many others.
In 2016, Mariya Kozhanova was selected as one of the participants in the international Joop Swart workshop organized by World Press Photo. Since 2012, her work has been published in such magazines as Le Monde Magazine, New York Times International, Vision Magazine China, Foto Magazine Czech Republic, Emerge Magazine Germany, fotoMagazin Germany, SHOTS magazines, and others ... Her works are part of private and museum collections in Russia, Germany, Japan and the USA.