Shortly after moving from Ufa, Russia to New York City in 1992, my grandmother tragically died, and my mother was murdered during the 1995 housing privatization. I was able to find their photo albums but didn’t open them until I began working on a new series exploring my childhood. During my research I found photos of family members I never knew anything about: my grandfather wearing a WWII pilot uniform, an uncle who sent the photo from Siberia to “his sister”, my mother, and more. In the ongoing series “Lost Family” I leave parts of the black and white photographs untouched to represent the “present" life. Using color, and without any attempt at photo realism, I use oil paints to show a “fantasy” life. By creating a collage using my found family and childhood photographs, I connect the present and the past to covey an imagined story.
Gulnara is a Tatar-born fine art and street photographer based in New York City. She holds a certificate in fine art from the International Center of Photography in New York City and a diploma from Moscow Poletech College in general photography. Gulnara is one of 89 live/work artists at the prestigious El Barrio's Artspace PS 109. Gulnara's work is part of collections at the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Public Library, the New York Historical Society, Houston Museum of Fine Arts and in the private collections of Elton John, Steven Kasher, Timothy Baum, and Henry Buhl. Her documentary work was published and exhibited around the world and received numerous awards, including first price in the World Press Photo. In her current work Gulnara uses black and white photographs, montages, and oil paints to explore her childhood and a lost family.