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Dream is Wonderful, Yet Unclear is a multi-layered and multi-disciplinary story of the relationships between collective and personal memories by looking at the community surrounding a textile mill in Narva, Estonia, now closed, of which Kapajeva's family was a part. The story of one small community is set in the larger context of post-industrial cities worldwide, as they seek new identities. It depicts a mill filled by powerful rhythms of looms and lively collectives of women workers that, in today’s competitive world seems like a bright and distant dream. Maria has focused on women, with a heightened sensitivity towards social and political matters in post-Soviet culture.
As the daughter of a textile designer, she spent her childhood at the mill, drawing fabric patterns and dreaming about the same job her mother had. She tries to interweave her mother’s work, her childhood dreams and their failures with the workers’ collective ones to underline the division between personal and collective memories that together form our historical narratives.
The title Dream is Wonderful, Yet Unclear is borrowed from the lyrics of March of Enthusiasts, from the Soviet movie The Bright Way (1940), starring Lyubov Orlova in the role of a female weaver, who made her ‘Cinderella’ journey from peasant to Stakhanovite, a heroic worker. This line of the song was later censored because of doubt raised by the word ‘unclear’. The idea of a wonderful dream is intended as a common thread throughout the book but so too is the lack of clarity that characterizes our memories of the past.
The book is in 3 languages – Estonian, Russian and English. It is designed by Jaan Evart (EE/NL), contributed by Liisa Kaljula (EE), Philipp Dorl (UK) and supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, British Council in Estonia, Creative Europe Programme of the European Union A Woman’s Work, Gallery of Photography Ireland and Arctic Paper.
Maria Kapajeva (Estonia/UK) received an MA in Photographic Studies at the University of Westminster (UK, 2013) and BA (Hons) Photography at the University for the Creative Arts (UK, 2009). She won numerous awards including A Woman’s Work Award via Creative Europe Programme (2020), Runner-Up Award at FOKUS Video Art Festival (Denmark, 2018) and her first title You Can Call Him Another Man has been shortlisted for the Aperture Photobook Award in 2018. She was invited to various residencies including the most recent at Laznia Centre for Contemporary Arts in Poland (2020). Her work has been exhibited and screened internationally including the most recent Estonian Museum of Applied Art & Design (2020), Vilnius Gallery of Photography (LIthuania, 2020), Latvian Museum of Photography (2019), CBS Digital Art Space (Denmark, 2019), RIBOCA Biennial (Latvia, 2018), Kaunas Photography Gallery (Lithuania, 2018), Luminocity Video Art Festival (Canada, 2018), Narva Art Residency (Estonia, 2017), WOAK Gallery (Poland, 2017), Detroit Oloman Gallery (USA, 2017), NexT Film Festival (Romania, 2017) and Berlin Feminist Film Week (2016).
First limited edition of 600