THE BREAD WITH HONEY by Andrew Querner.
Opening Reception. Winner of the 2012 Pikto Top Pick contest. THE BREAD WITH HONEY by Andrew Querner.
Judges Chris Buck, Johan Halberg-Campbell and Gina Martin.
Summary: An ancient metal mine in the former Yugoslavia is a conduit through which I examine the complexities of Kosovo’s recent independence.
Statement: The Stan Terg metal mine below the town of Trepça, Kosovo, was once the jewel of a giant Yugoslavian mining conglomerate. Power struggles in the 1990s which resulted in the breakup of Yugoslavia and culminated in Kosovo's civil war of 1999 crippled the operation. Since the end of the war Stan Terg has little more than survived, the victim of fallout from tensions between Kosovo's Serbian and Albanian population, political tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, and post-independence growing pains.
With few economic prospects in the region, miners in their fifties and sixties have been left to provide for their extended families. As they near the age of mandatory retirement, many I spoke with express a deep worry for the future well being of their family. While government and management remain hopeful that Stan Terg can regain some of its former stature, an atmosphere of uncertainty hangs in the streets of Trepça.
Through time, the mine has come to mirror the region's ethno-political strains. Often to the detriment of the operation itself, the forces at the mine's helm have tended to hold regional control. As a photographer, this relationship offered an entry point to further investigate- through the workers, their families, and the tired town at the mine’s threshold- the depth of the political and economic challenges facing the young country.