Maria Kapajeva

Maria Kapajeva is an artist from Estonia who works and lives in London. Maria’s work explores the transformation of identity in post-Soviet territories by re-visiting the past through archival or family photographs, by collaging found images from these territories available online, by meeting people and visualising their stories. My art is never about answers but rather questions about our past and present, thus, through the process of making art I am trying to understand them better for the sake of the future.

Film 58, frame 2, from the series Reading Apocrypha


My project started with a box of negatives I found at my parents’ house a few years ago. There were about 200 processed and unprocessed films, shot by my father. Last year I got a chance to excavate their contents, delving deeper into the lost images of my father’s life, to create my own stories by using these photographs he took before his marriage to my mother and my birth. I let myself enter into the world of a young man I never knew, and find connections in what possibly cannot be connected with the help of Italo Calvino’s words from his novel “If on a winter’s night a traveller”.


With this work, I continue my artistic exploration of questions about found images and archives, and how a coincidence can lead to a new narrative that does not relate perhaps to the real events in these photographs. It is my way to build up ‘a possible portal between an unfinished past and a reopened future’, described by Hal Foster (Foster, H. 2004. An Archival Impulse. In: October 110, Fall 2004, p.15).


The screen print created specially for 20/20 Visions is a continuation of my artistic search for a story. What happened before or after this image? We only could guess or create our own story. By using screen-printing technique to be able to play with colour layers, I wonder if it is a possibility for me to learn more about a life of a young man, my father, than from black and white images he took.