In the Frame: David Creedon – Rustam Saidaliev – Sanctuary in a New Land


Posted February 22, 2023 in Arts and Culture

IN THE FRAME 211

David Creedon

Rustam Saidaliev – Sanctuary in a New Land

The photograph was taken on the boardwalk that runs along the seafront between Redbarn and Youghal and on this there is a beach hut in some way reminiscent of something that you would find at an English seaside resort like Margate or Brighton. I remember thinking that the bright yellow colour of the hut and the light blue of the sky were very like the Ukrainian flag when a young man from the Ukraine staying at a local hotel walked in. He had only been in Ireland about a week and even though he spoke no English, between hand gestures and Google translate he agreed to have his photograph taken by me. In some way, it’s a coming of age picture where the safety of his family and home have collided with the realities of war as he now finds himself on the threshold of adulthood in a strange land with thousands of his countrymen and women not knowing what their future might hold.

Ukrainian refugee Rustam Saidaliev is a 17-year-old student from Kharkiv. On the 3rd of March 2022 his entire family of eight fled their home and travelled by train to Lviv in Western Ukraine close to the Polish border, before travelling on to Warsaw by car. From here they travelled to Berlin where they stayed in refugee camps. On the 4th of May they arrived in Ireland and are now staying in a hotel on the South Coast outside Cork City at Redbarn Beach, Youghal, Co. Cork

This image is part of the Zurich Portrait Prize which is on display in the National Gallery until Sunday April 2nd. 

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