From Musée Magazine:
Over the course of six years, artist Michal Chelbin gained unprecedented access in order to photograph male and female inmates in seven prisons across Ukraine and Russia. Not wanting to be influenced by knowledge of her subjects’ crimes, she focused on the complicated gaze of the prisoners, completing her sessions before asking about the details of anyone’s sentence. Sometimes waiting hours for masks to be let down, Chelbin patiently sought expressions that transcended individual situations and spoke of universal truths beyond the confining walls of the jail cell.
The title, Sailboats and Swans, refers to the bucolic, unintentionally sardonic murals found on the prison walls amplifying the numbing reality of incarceration.