Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 1977 / Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Sayyora Muin’s poignant work bids farewell to the now desiccated Aral Sea, and to the surrounding communities that once flourished in her native Uzbekistan. The sea was the world’s fourth largest saline lake until the 1960s, when the two rivers that fed it were diverted to promote agriculture, causing desertification. Moreover, the run off from pesticides and chemicals poured onto the agricultural land entered the Aral Sea, eliminating fish, creating toxic salt that rose up in dust storms and were carried through the air, and created an ecological disaster that displaced over 100,000 people and affected the health of over 5 million more. Muin pays respect to those whose towns were subsequently transformed into a salt desert. A circle of women support each other as they silently say goodbye to the lives and places they once knew. Their traditional dress attests to Muin’s previous work in costume design, while the salt around them evokes the loss of the Aral Sea.
Portrait by Klein