The Winners
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Rafał Milach

The Winners

2010-2013 / pigment inkjet print, cardboard / 62 x 50 cm / no. 0165 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence    Wróć

The Winners series is made up of fifty-five photographs taken during Rafał Milach’s travels to Belarus. It was inspired by Lukashenko’s decree in 2004 that obliged local institutions to actively promote state ideology. This meant that Plaques of Praise were permanently inlaid in buildings in Belarus’ towns and villages – wall bulletins presenting citizens who served their local societies. Councils and businesses singled out ideological managers, organizers of various pro-state initiatives. This photographic expedition tells the tale of the winners of these competitions, purely dictated by propaganda goals.
Over the three years he collected material for the series, Milach developed a special working method. This came about in accordance with his belief in the subjective role of photographer who documents reality, and as a result of his meetings with the protagonists of the series. The artist allowed the organizers of the competition to have creative control over the winners’ portraits. The result was a series of pictures in which the photographer consciously surrendered to the mechanism propagating success and exposed its absurdity.
The photographs purchased for the FSP ING collection include ten portraits: Sasha (the best welder in Belarus), Marina (Miss Belarussian Rail, Brest region), Natalia and Konan (the most loving couple), Ana (Grodno’s Fitness Queen), Olga (mother of the Best Multi-child Family in the Smarhon’ region), Vlodimir (Minsk’s best street-sweeper), Viktoria and Maxim (the best students from Kobylovka), and the best starch, library, and ideological space.

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