“The Others” — group exhibition by Annika Haas, Birgit Püve, Maxim Mjödov

30.11.2018 — 13.01.2019

Estonia is one of the smallest countries in Europe by size and by population. At the same time, the country is home to diverse ethnic and cultural communities living side by side. However, the connections between these minorities and the Estonian majority have remained superficial.

The Juhan Kuus Documentary Centre presents three Estonian photographers who investigate the mysterious and unknown element in the Estonian society — the Other. Each photographer explores the otherness within a particular community. Birgit Püve, Annika Haas and Maxim Mjödov open the doors that lead us to three different worlds of the Others in Estonia. By learning to know the Other we cultivate positive and inclusive approach to the Otherness so that we can embrace the diversity in our society.

Birgit Püve is looking at the small village of Vao in northeastern Estonia and its current inhabitants. Vao experienced the first influx of immigrants of different ethnicities from the former Soviet Union when the sovkhozes and kolkhozes were established in the 1950s-60s. Now the village is witnessing the second wave of immigration from different countries because of the new refugee centre established in the village a few years ago.

Annika Haas sheds light upon the most mysterious minority of the Others in Estonia — the Roma. The majority of locals looks at Roma people suspiciously without knowing much about them, their customs and cultural traditions. Annika’s images provide an unique opportunity to take an intimate look at Romas’ daily life and their homes.

Maxim Mjödov’s personal story takes us to the peripheral landscapes of Lasnamäe, the suburban area in the eastern part of the capital Tallinn, which is widely considered as the major residential area of the main Other. The majority of residents here are the Russian-speakers who arrived to Estonia from all over the Soviet Union during the USSR period. As a side note, although Maxim has grown up in Lasnamäe, he says that he has not felt himself as the other.

This exhibition by Juhan Kuus Documentary Photo Centre represented the Estonian photography in New York at the Photoville 2018. This is the first time for this exhibition to be on show in Estonia.

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