Editor's Note: This story was made as a part of Magnum Foundation Human Rights and Photography Fellowship at New York University Tisch School of the Arts."Little Ukraine" is a story about exploring different kinds of patriotic feelings and connections to the homeland which Ukrainian immigrants built and experience.
There are three characters: Jerry, who wasn’t even born in Ukraine, Daria, who left when she was five and Halyna,who came to the U.S. at the age of 30.
“Little Ukraine” is a story of Ukrainians in New York.
Yaroslav “Jerry” Skrypets was born in 1946 in Germany, to Ukrainian parents. His parents emigrated to New York in 1952. He has never been to Ukraine, nor he is planning to go. He still has some relatives living there, but he is not in contact with them.
Halyna Fenchenko arrived to America on May 26, 2001. She last visited her family in Ukraine three years ago. Her brother Oleh’s first military rotation to the war zone in eastern Ukraine was in August 2014. By the end of June 2015 he will start his fourth military rotation to the war zone.
Daria Genza immigrated to New York in 1953 at age of 12. Before landing in the United States, Daria and her family spent about seven years in Germany. Daria studied Ukrainian folk dance while still a child in Germany. Since 1971, Daria has been teaching children Ukrainian traditional folk dances to keep the tradition going.
This story started just as a curiosity and became very personal. Young people in Ukraine of my generation been told by their parents since childhood, that Ukraine is not the best country to live, that people in the West live better, so we should immigrate when we grow up and finish university. I was curious, what is the better life for those who immigrated here? And I got surprised and amazed when I found out the answer, that they still live in their personal Little Ukraine.