Skip to main content

Debaltsevo, Where Are You?
Karine Zenja Versluis

Debaltsevo, Where Are You?, Karine Zenja Hespers

Debaltsevo, Where Are You? Karine Zenja VersluisDebaltsevo, Where Are You?
Karine Zenja Versluis
The Eriskay Connection


Edition of 750
148 pages
165 × 240 mm
ISBN 9789492051912



What does it mean when you have roots in different countries? What are the stories that are known and what is there to find out? Debaltsevo, Where Are You? is a personal story about the fascinating and elusive search for your heritage.

Photographer Karine Zenja Versluis (NL) started her own quest in 2013 when she decided to explore her family history in the city of Debaltseve, Donbas, Ukraine. The place where her grandmother was born. Along the way, for more than ten years, everything went differently than expected. The quest became a red thread in the story.

A story told from different perspectives. We follow the history of her grandmother, who was forced to leave Debaltseve (Debaltsevo in her grandmother’s memories) and work in a German labor camp during World War II. We get to know three Ukrainian families who, due to another war, escaped the city of Debaltseve in 2015, and in 2022. And we travel with the narrator herself, from the Netherlands to Ukraine, in search of a city.

During this journey, Versluis asks herself how her grandmother’s story influenced her own life. Constantly overtaken by current events her plans change again and again, symbolizing the puzzling search for her own identity. The work consists of archival images, photographs and texts in English, with an online available Dutch and Ukrainian translation.

About the Artist
Karine Zenja Versluis is a Dutch documentary photographer and visual storyteller based in Amsterdam. In her work, she explores how people deal with their identity, culture, and society in which they live and
 how it influences their daily lives. Karine works with photography combined with audio, video, found footage, or text. Culture, image formation, and social and community issues have always interested her. She has collaborated with Framer Framed on various projects including the online exhibition Drawing Stories, the Stay Strong Photo Stories developed during the Corona Lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, and At Home in Molenwijk during 2021 and 2022.

About the Publisher
The Eriskay Connection is a Dutch studio for book design and an independent publisher. They focus on contemporary storytelling at the intersection of photography, research and writing.