The photographer Ricky Dávila in the gallery of the Jorge Rando Museum. Migue Fernández
From Kyiv to Odessa: Ricky Dávila's journey through another Ukraine

From Kyiv to Odessa: Ricky Dávila's journey through another Ukraine

The Jorge Rando Museum is exhibiting about twenty photographs documenting the Basque photographer's journey through the country where he adopted his son

Julio Portabales


Friday, 19 April 2024, 17:17


Often, the journey itself is not as important as the destination. The route, the people you meet, the different customs, the stories you uncover... All of these elements form part of a whole that shapes the experiences of each individual, and moreover, they shape each person's personality. For the photographer Ricky Dávila, both aspects were of great importance during his journey through the cities of Kyiv and Odessa, Ukraine, in 2007.

The destination was significant because its purpose was the adoption of his son Nikolai from an orphanage in Odessa, and the journey was important because it allowed him to capture the everyday lives of others through his camera lens during one of the most important moments of his life.

Some twenty photographs adorn the walls of one of the rooms at the Jorge Rando Museum in Malaga, marking the first photographic exhibition to be held in this space. The images, as expressed by the photographer born in Bilbao, do not possess an "informative sense, but a poetic one"; the quest to capture emotions prevails over other factors.

The exhibition titled No Vodka on the Moon, which is running until 13 May, is not a documentary about adoption, nor is it a representation of the cities of Odessa and Kyiv. This "visual poetry" - as defined by Vanesa Diez Barriuso, director of the Jorge Rando Museum - is a new way of understanding the fusion between the author and these cities.

"What you see is not Odessa, it's me in Odessa," explains the Basque artist.

A soldier running, two people holding hands inside a bus, several buildings in different areas... These are all representations of the author's journey in adopting his son. They illuminate, as if with a flashlight, the various focal points of the journey, enabling anyone who views them to understand the process and the journey.

Seventeen years have passed since the photos were taken and the connotation of the images is significantly different compared to the moment they were immortalised. The situation in Ukraine now, due to the conflict, greatly alters the perspective on how to understand the exhibition.

During his time on Ukrainian soil, the priority was on achieving poetic and metaphorical intent, from a perspective that was less about providing information and more about "introspection" and "intimacy", the author explains. However, at present, the situation within the territory has added a connotation of a region that, in the words of the protagonist, "remains a conflict zone".

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