In the Galleries: Alexander Kargaltsev

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 23 2012 12:18 PM ET

Alexander Kargaltsev’s photographic project “Asylum” presented at 287 SPRING explores the lives of gay men who fled Russia for the United States due to the violence and hatred they have encountered in their motherland.

Kargaltsev’s portraits expose the dire situation of the LGBT community in Russia. They contain a poignant message of hope for a life free of fear in the New World. The models, in their nakedness, reveal their courage in shedding many layers of fear, emerging from their harrowing past, bare and vulnerable, yet proud.

The years since the collapse of the Soviet Union – where homosexuality was criminally prosecuted — was a time of hopes and bitter disillusionment for the Russian gays and lesbians. For a moment, it seemed that the LGBT citizens of the Russian Federation were finally visible and free of state-sponsored persecution. These hopes, however, were essentially crushed in the past decade. Numerous reports indicate that the LGBT persons living in Russia today face daily threats of violence and intimidation, while the discrimination in the work place, housing, and even access to health care is ubiquitous. Instead of protecting its citizens, the Government has adopted a policy of either silently ignoring their problems or encouraging hatred and intolerance of sexual minorities in Russian society.

In 1991, when Russia opened its borders, a great number of LGBT individuals had no other choice but to flee from the abuse and mistreatment at the hands of their fellow citizens and the authorities, especially the police. Many asylum-seekers sought refuge in the countries of Western Europe and the United States. Kargaltsev's series presents just a few of these tragic but inspiring stories, stories which often never get a chance to be told. — Ivan Savvine, Curator, 287 SPRING

October 26-28 2012
Opening Reception: October 26, 2012 at 6-00 p.m.

www.287Spring.com | [email protected] | 646.388.0380