The Promising Waters project explores the process of the state construction in three former Soviet republics on the shores of the Caspian Sea: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The battle for control of the region’s oil and gas reserves came together with a challenge to create the new states ideology and a new pride for the population. Total reinvention of past and future undergo in the countries and the new world is pushed to appear from the ashes. While the expectations are high- the direction of these transformations remains uncertain. The photographs of “Promising Waters” take viewer on a subtle and complex journey through the region, exploring the silent tension of the landscapes marked by presence of the people and stories of people who find them lost between new and old values. Though focused on the Caspian region the photographs are raising rather global questions as to the relationship between the state and private identity, the ties between past, present and future, and how to pinpoint the boundary between rise or fall.
Mila Teshaieva was born in Ukraine in 1974 and since 2010 lives in Berlin. In her work she focuses on topics of constructed identity and memory in Post-Soviet countries, often combining in-depth scientific research with freedom of artistic interpretation. Mila’s photographs have been exhibited worldwide with recent solo exhibitions in Haggerty Museum of Art (USA 2015), Photoquai Biennial (France 2015), Museum Kunst der West Küste (Germany 2014) and are kept in several public and private collections. She has received awards including Critical Mass Book Award 2012, PDN Photo Annual, NPPA Best of Photojournalism. Mila’s first monograph “Promising Waters” was published with Kehrer Verlag in 2013.