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Please join the Photo Department as we showcase 2023 senior Gertrude Käsebier Prize recipient Alice Romanov '23.


To Remember is to Draw Blood will be on display in MassArt's North Crackatorium March 29 - April 6, 2024. There will be a reception on Tuesday, April 2, from 4-6pm (following the Photo Department's annual Alumni Panel from 2-4pm in K280).


Thanks to the generosity of a MassArt Photography Program supporter, the department has a set of prizes to offer to Photography majors each spring. As a whole, these prizes are known as the Gertrude Käsebier Prizes. Two are granted to extraordinary Photography sophomores, two are granted to excellent juniors, and one is granted to a uniquely accomplished graduating senior.


The senior applicants must submit a written statement setting forth a plan to pursue a body of work in a specific place over a period of at least six weeks. The purpose of the award is to enable the student to explore in depth a single place, and to have the experience of living in an unfamiliar landscape. The recipient will receive a $5,000 grant to fulfull their travel plans. They are invited to particpate in the Photography Department's annual Alumni Panel the following spring, and hold an exhibition of the work from their travels.


To Remember is to Draw Blood is a collection of 14 photographs taken over the summer of 2023 in Poland, Hungary, and East Germany–formerly part of the Eastern Bloc. To Remember is to Draw Blood documents the region’s hardenest past and contemporary present overlapping with a hazy and woeful perspective of the future. The series is Romanov’s visual response to being unable to visit either Ukraine or Russia, where the opposing sides of her family are from. Searching for a sense of peace and comfort within her identity, Romanov conjures a nebulous sense air of heartache and hardship. Rooted in a desire to understand the rich histories of each country from her travels while recognizing how the Ukrainian and Russian sides of her identity have imprinted on the area, Romanov’s photographs evoke a collective remembering of the Soviet grasp in Central Europe throughout the 20th century. The collection features photographs of objects, archival images, and spaces authored by the people and cultures from which they originated. Much how Romanov’s work juxtaposes the past with the present, her dueling cultural lineage and fond memories with bleak outlooks, she constructs images of an unknown and disjointed home to parallel the reality of her family circumstances in Ukraine as the war continues into its third year. Romanov’s work urges the viewer to remember how Russia has tormented its neighbors over the centuries, while the regions remain resistant, protecting their customs, languages, and cultural pride. The photographs piece together a Central and Eastern Europe that refuses to belong to each other as they clash along their borders. To Remember is to Draw Blood invites the viewer to create a recollection of historical traumas and discomforts, such as the Hungarian Uprising and the scars of Soviet rule that are still cast today, in a staggeringly necessary persuasion for Western eyes.


Alice Romanov is a photographer and writer based in Philadelphia making work about her Russian-Ukrainian background, childhood memories, and passed-down stories. Alice’s most recent work revolves around understanding generational wounds through pensive investigations into her mother’s and her memories of Russia and Ukraine. She integrates text in her photography, first-person essays, and poems to draw connections to her experiences, where reflections of an uncertain future exist. She received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. In 2023, she received the Gertrude Käsebier Travel Grant Award from Massachusetts College of Art and Design to photograph in Poland and other European countries while exploring similar landscapes and cultural complexities to her own. Alice has been featured in Float Magazine, F-Stop Magazine, and other small publications, and has been in multiple group exhibitions at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Panopticon Gallery in Boston.


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