'The Iron Closet' at New York's Photoville 2015

Dmitry Chizhevsky in a Saint Petersburg hospital, where he was treated for a month and a half, following an attack on an LGBT meeting. Doctors were not able to save his vision in his left eye. Image by Misha Friedman. Russia, 2013.

Thursday, September 10, 2015 (All day) to Sunday, September 20, 2015 (All day)

Join the Pulitzer Center in September at New York's Photoville 2015 for "The Iron Closet," an exhibition featuring the photography of Pulitzer Center grantee Misha Friedman who documents the dangerous conditions the LGBT community live under in Russia. Evey Wilson, the Pulitzer Center's multimedia projects coordinator, curated "The Iron Closet" exhibition.

"Being gay in Russia is lonely and dangerous. Homophobic rhetoric is encouraged by the state. Violence and discrimination are tolerated," Friedman says in his artist's statement.

Friedman cites the 2013 amendment to Russia’s Child Protection law that criminalizes what it calls “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.” Its ambiguity and selective use effectively make it illegal for any kind of gay event to take place or to even mention acceptance of homosexuality in public. With a significant increase in hate crimes, hundreds of LGBT Russians are asking for asylum in the United States.

"They are prisoners in their own homes, hiding their identities, afraid to live a full life while looking for hope elsewhere," the statement concludes.

"The Iron Closet" photography displayed at Photoville is part of Friedman's Pulitzer Center project, "Official Homophobia in Russia."

Photoville is New York City's largest annual photographic event—a modular venue built from re-purposed shipping containers creating immersive and interactive photographic exhibits. Photoville–free and open to the public–runs for two weekends, opening Thursday, September 10, and closing Sunday September 20. The Pulitzer Center is a programming partner with Photoville.

The Pulitzer Center will also present "Photography and the Battle for Global LGBT Rights," a panel discussion on LGBT communities in Russia, Uganda and North America, at Photoville 2015 on Sunday, September 13. The panel features Pulitzer Center grantees Daniella Zalcman and Misha Friedman, and creator of "Fearless: Portraits of LGBT Student Atheletes," Jeff Sheng. Michael Heflin, the director of equality for the Open Society Human Rights Initiative, moderates the discussion. Reception to follow. Learn more.

Former Pulitzer Center grantee Stephanie Sinclair also is exhibiting her photography at Photoville 2015 through the exhibition, "Too Young to Wed." Sinclair has focused on the issue of child marriage for more than a decade and previously received support from the Pulitzer Center for her reporting on child marriage.

Thursday, September 10
Exhibition Launch 4:00 pm
Opening Night Celebration 7 pm
Closing September 20
The Uplands of Pier 5*
One Brooklyn Bridge Park
360 Furman Street
Brooklyn, New York, NY 11201
*off Furman Street and next to One Brooklyn Bridge Park

For a full schedule, including exhibition times and other events, visit the Photoville website.