An exhibition of Wisconsin-based photographer Narayan Mahon‘s long-term project, “Lands in Limbo,” opened last weekend at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The body of work focuses on the countries of Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Trandsniestra (Transnistria), Nagorno Karabakh and Somalila, all of whom exist in what Mahon calls “political, social and cultural limbo, waiting for international recognition and confirmation of their self-determination.”
This is Mahon’s first museum show and also the first exhibition of this work. “I had ‘Lands in Limbo’ on the back burner for a few years while I focused my energy on trying to build a commercial and editorial career,” he told PDN via email. “At the end of 2013, I told myself I would put more energy into getting this project out in to the world…so when a friend and former client asked me how he could help, and I jokingly told him to find me a gallery.” His friend introduced him to a curator at the museum, and later they offered him an exhibition.
Mahon began the project in graduate school in 2006, and worked on it until 2010, when he focused on getting assignment work. “This was a personal project, though I tried my best, in vain, to get some assignments out of it. The idea came to me when I was studying abroad in Poland, when I was just finding my love for photography, and I took a trip to Ukraine and took a train to Moldova, passing through Transnistria, where I was shaken down by the border guards. And I thought to myself, what the hell kind of place is this! And from that point I was curious about unrecognized countries.”
For more on the project, see our article from the January 2012 issue of PDN.