Mark Neville (Ukraine Special Episode: Stop Tanks With Books)
Talk Art speaks to Mark Neville, the award winning British photographer. Since 2015, Neville (born 1966) has been documenting life in Ukraine, with subjects ranging from holidaymakers on the beaches of Odessa and the Roma communities on the Hungarian border to those internally displaced by the war in Eastern Ukraine. Through his community-based projects, Neville explores the social function of the medium, using still and moving images as well as photo books. His projects have consistently looked to subvert the traditional, passive role of social documentary practice to activate social debate and change beyond the boundaries of cultural institutions.
Employing his activist strategy of a targeted book dissemination, Neville is committed to making a direct impact upon the war in Ukraine. He will distribute copies of this volume free to policy makers, opinion makers, members of parliament both in Ukraine and Russia, members of the international community and those involved directly in the Minsk Agreements. He means to reignite awareness about the war, galvanize the peace talks and attempt to halt the daily bombing and casualties in Eastern Ukraine which have been occurring for four years now. Neville's images are accompanied by writings from both Russian and Ukrainian novelists, as well as texts from policy makers and the international community, to suggest how to end the conflict.
Shortlisted for Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2020, Mark Neville works at the intersection of art and documentary, investigating the social function of photography. He makes lens-based works which have been realised and disseminated in a large array of contexts, as both still and moving image pieces, slideshows, films, and giveaway books. His work seeks to find new ways to empower the position of its subject over that of the author. Often working with closely knit communities, in a collaborative process intended to be of direct, practical benefit to the subject, his photographic projects to date have frequently made the towns he portrays the primary audience for the work. Points of reference for his practice might include the ideas of Henri Lefebvre, or the art works of Martha Rosler, John Berger, or Hans Haacke.
"What changes people’s minds about a conflict is a poem, a song, or a photograph. It’s people’s feelings that need to be changed. To my mind, that’s the role of the artist." Mark Neville speaking to The Guardian, February 2022.
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🇺🇦❤️ Further organisations: @razom.for.ukraine Razom for Ukraine, Help for Ukraine, @sunflowerofpeace Sunflower of Peace, and @revivedsoldiersukraine Revived Soldiers Ukraine are four organisations which use donations to fund medical aid for the people of Ukraine, including the purchase of first aid kits, backpacks stuffed with medical supplies, and medical rehabilitation for injured soldiers.