In the Republic of Belarus, winners are present in the kolkhozes or collective farms, in the schools, in the nightclubs, village discos, public institutions and Boards of Honour of almost every town. From welders to dairy workers, couples to twins, Milach’s exhibition is dedicated to the winners of the many and various state and local competitions held in Belarus between 2010 and 2013, supported by the authorities.
I wanted it to be a kind of mirror that reflected the ideological state that is Belarus, he says.
A Visual artist, photographer, author of photobooks and graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice and ITF in Opava (Czech Republic), he currently lectures in the latter institution. For over 10 years, Rafał Milach has been working on transition issues in former East Block countries. He has earned worldwide recognition for his books – “The Winners” and “7 Rooms”. He received grants from the Ministry of Culture, Magnum Foundation and the European Cultural Foundation. He has won prestigious prizes, including the World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year International. He is co-founder of the Sputnik Photos collective.
‘The Winners’ is part of the exhibition ‘Refusal’, premiered at Atlas Sztuki Gallery in Lodz, Poland in May 2017, and for which Rafal Milach has been shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018.