According to statistics, homosexuals make up 5 to 10% of the total population of the planet. However, according to polls, only 5% of Ukrainians know at least one openly LGBTQ person. Photography and words by Anton Shebetko. “Common People” is on display in Robert Kananaj Gallery, Toronto, Canada on 21/06-21/07
Perhaps the situation in Ukraine is not as deplorable as in countries where homosexuality is criminally punishable. But, being in the “grey zone”, gays deny the struggle, avoid Pride events, prefer “not to advertise” and sometimes even use openly homophobic rhetoric. The Ukrainian gay community consists mostly of closeted gays. These people are made protagonists of the project “Common People”.
The project consists of several dozen impersonal portraits – manually spoiled or initially taken without faces – of Ukrainian gays who hide their homosexuality from others e.g. family, colleagues, friends.
The portrait is often perceived as one of the most honest genres of photography. It should reveal the personality and character of a human. The destruction of the portraits, hiding the faces of the heroes, is a symbolic act. These heroes can not be open to others; we cannot see their faces, learn their personalities.