A documentary project by Nils Claesson och Denis Romanovski
Valentina Dobrovas Life
Valentina Dobrova eleven years old when she run away from home. Photo: family Romanovski, ca 1929.
Valentina Dobrovas Life is a story about a story. The narrative consists of things that you may tell and things that are not suitable to tell or even remember. The Life Story of Valentina covers the geography of the former USSR and two historical tragedies: First the mass starvation and hunger catastrophe in Ukraine in 1932-1933 and then the system of labor camps that goes under the label GULAG and foremost the odyssey of Valentina from the day she escapes her father and Steph mother in Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine in 1932 11 years old to the day she reunites with her family thirty years after. Families hide their secrets in a hole in the garden or lock them into real or virtual safety vaults. The next generation and the generations after carrying a secret non revealed grows up with a feeling that somebody one day has to Speak Out. That somebody has to tell the truth. The Life of Valentina Dobrova is a documentary project and a filmatic collaboration between Denis Romanovski, the grandchild of Valentina Dobrova, and Nils Claesson – One person from the inside of a family and one from the outside. This is an exposition using the gallery space to create a Gestalt of photographic fragments and a forest of family films– The family album of Valentina that she one day tore apart into tiny pieces in an attack of anger: all photos except one. A portrait of French movie star Jean-Paul Belmondo. Translation from Russian: Kajsa Öberg Lindsten. Vladimir Romanovski, the father of Denis has contributed to the project with films, photos, videos, and archive research. Far. Vladimir Romanovski was born in GULAG and belongs to the first generation of children born in GULAG that was allowed to live. He was born in 1941.