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Dream is Wonderful, Yet Unclear by Maria Kapajeva

Dream is Wonderful, Yet Unclear by Maria Kapajeva

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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 and Gallery of Photography Ireland.


Artist’s Bio: Maria Kapajeva is an Estonian artist, who works in London. She received a BA in Photography from The University for the Creative Arts, Farnham and an MA in Photographic Studies from The University of Westminster, London. Her work was internationally exhibited, including most recently: Latvian Museum of Photography (2019), CBS Digital Art Space (Denmark, 2019), RIBOCA Biennial (Latvia, 2018), Kaunas Photography Gallery (Lithuania, 2018), Narva Art Residency (Estonia, 2017), WOAK Gallery (Poland, 2017), Detroit Oloman Gallery (USA, 2017). Her video works have been shown at Luminocity Festival (Canada, 2018), NexT Film Festival (Romania, 2017) and Berlin Feminist Film Week (2016). In 2016 she received a Gasworks & Triangle Network Fellowship to work at Kooshk Residency in Tehran. Kapajeva’s first artist book You can call him another man, published by Kaunas Photography Gallery, was shortlisted for Aperture Photobook Award 2018. For more see:

Dream is Wonderful, Yet Unclear by Maria Kapajeva

First limited edition of 600

170 x 240 mm

Silk-screen printed clothbound on a softcover with flaps

Open spine Swiss binding
304 pages
244 visuals (photographs, cutouts and archival materials)

Published April 2020

ISBN 978-9934-8748-2-6

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