Ksenia Kuleshova was born in Russia but spent her childhood in Minsk, Belarus. She graduated from Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University) with a degree in public relations. After winning a Russian PR competition, she worked on the agency side for several years, but then she decided to move to Germany and pursue photography. She studied photojournalism and documentary photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover. 
In 2012 she was awarded a scholarship at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. In 2017 she was selected to be a representative for all international scholarship recipients at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Lens blog, DIE ZEIT, ZEIT leo, among others. She is currently enrolled in the master's program at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Dortmund.

All images © Ksenia Kuleshova, courtesy of the artist.

"There is an old legend the Abkhaz people like to tell to the visitors: When God gave each nation its place under the sun, the Abkhaz was too
busy taking care of his guests so he came late and there was no land left for him. But God remembered the great hospitality of the Abkhaz
so he gifted him the only place left where God himself wanted to live - the small region on the shores of the Black Sea."

Legends are legends, reality often differs. Abkhazia today is a sort of "no man's land", recognized by few countries. "A lost place on the world map" as Ksenia Kuleshova, who has spent the last 2 years documenting this territory that is still a part of Georgia, describes it. Still alive as a touristic paradise in the memory of Russians, Abkhazia has been heavily transformed by the war for independence in 1992. Ksenia Kuleshova recalls her parent's tourist stories about Abkhazia, comparing them to the present situation and the interactions she creates with Abkhaz people. She is not interested in photographing the signs of the war, but  she wants to concentrate on the positive sides, on the desire of a revenge and the effort people puts in building the basis for a social, economical and political development. She says she "wants to find the soul" of a territory that, in the local language, means “land of the soul”.

By telling the story of Abkhazia, Kuleshova is creating a portrait of a country "that is caught in a two decade long sleep without any signs of waking up in sight." By showing and taking part to the every day life of people who try to exist within this uncertainty, within a system that doesn’t have a future and doesn’t seek one, she is portraying their happiness and their desire to be recognized by the world, to be able to affirm their identity.