Grant Work | Visual Story Editing | Project Management: Democracy + Communism: 3. Cuba + Bulgaria, in Layers: Paskova_Yana_002

Second from left is a young me of the 1980s, wearing the Communist youth uniform mandatory for all school activities, and a young Cuban student wearing the same in front of an office for the CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution.) The CDR is a network of neighborhood watch organizations peppered across Cuba, that report on any activity they deem counter-revolutionary or a threat to Communist rule. My grandfather spent 5 years of his youth in a Communist labor camp after one such organization noted his lack of participation in the party. Elementary schoolchildren in many Communist countries wear scarves as part of the uniform of the children’s Communist youth: blue or red, depending on their age.Fraying family pictures from pre-1989 Bulgaria inspired this portion of a long-term project on Democracy + Communism. The parallels between them and photos I'd taken in present-day Cuba surface best when juxtaposed — one image layered on top of the other. And so, I attempt to bridge one country’s past to another country’s present — to show that political ideals, its profiteers and its victims, can remain unchanged by time or geography.

Second from left is a young me of the 1980s, wearing the Communist youth uniform mandatory for all school activities, and a young Cuban student wearing the same in front of an office for the CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution.) The CDR is a network of neighborhood watch organizations peppered across Cuba, that report on any activity they deem counter-revolutionary or a threat to Communist rule. My grandfather spent 5 years of his youth in a Communist labor camp after one such organization noted his lack of participation in the party. Elementary schoolchildren in many Communist countries wear scarves as part of the uniform of the children’s Communist youth: blue or red, depending on their age. 

Fraying family pictures from pre-1989 Bulgaria inspired this portion of a long-term project on Democracy + Communism. The parallels between them and photos I'd taken in present-day Cuba surface best when juxtaposed — one image layered on top of the other. And so, I attempt to bridge one country’s past to another country’s present — to show that political ideals, its profiteers and its victims, can remain unchanged by time or geography.