restoration from within

After the October Revolution in 1917,the communist party’s ideologies were applied throughout the Soviet Union. One of which was the commitment to religion destruction, and replaced it with atheism as the official doctrine. Many churches were destroyed, immense numbers of religious leaders and Christians were executed. Those who survived had to conceal their faith and live in disguise as atheists. Some secretly passed on their faith to their children.

Following 70 years of severe desecration; the religion destruction was finally ended in 1988 by Mikahail Gorbachev’s liberalising policy of Glasnost. The policy gave more freedom to activities that had been formerly controlled and prohibited. It also permitted religious people to worship openly and re-establish their religious institutions.

In 1991, the dissolution of the Soviet Union caused the depression of the economy, which led to the collapse of social services. Millions of Soviets were suddenly made unemployed and plunged into poverty. It is not until the end of the 20th century that the religion uprising had fully begun. Since then, the religion has again been flourished. Churches, frescoes and religious artefacts have been restored throughout the country with the contribution of dedicated religious artisans.

“ Restoration from Within ” aims to capture the traces of the religion destruction from the Soviet era. The series also portrays the power of faith through a group of religious artisans from different cities in Central Russia.

Some of the artisans in the series have remained faithful to the religion through the turbulent period of the Soviet ruling. Some younger artisans chose to be trained as religious painters in hope of gaining employment during the economy depression. Initially they did not have faith in what they painted. However, the more they painted the more they realised how much their inner peace was restored. The physical restoration of religious artefacts became the inner restoration of their mind and soul. The religion restoration not only serves as an act of realisation in the cultural prosperity of Russia, it is also a cure for the damaged minds in the nation.


images from this series