With millions of us stuck inside and online, we’re here to give your social media a boost with a mid-isolation Instagram cleanse.
We’ll take you to old lands and new with a round-up of some of the most striking accounts featured in our Follow of the Week series — including curated contemporary photography from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Armenian visual art made by women artists, Yugoslav design, and historical pics of the USSR.
Filled with authenticity, spontaneity, and love for Eastern Europe’s unique idiosyncrasies, @everydayeasterneurope is a gift to both those interested in the region, and the people it represents. Curated by multiple documentary photographers working in the region, the account celebrates and contextualises local staples without exoticising them. From youthful ravers in Georgia to middle-aged men in Bulgarian spas, it gives followers a peak into Eastern Europe’s many varied joys. @everydayeasterneurope is part of Everyday Projects, which aim to use visual storytelling to fight cliches and inequality around the world. We’ve also been behind the scenes with @everydaymoldova — providing the same great insights on a smaller geographical scale.
@ArmenianWomenArtists is an Instagram account that stretches across the ages: gathering the greatest women artists from Armenia and the diaspora to bring often undervalued work to a wider audience than ever before. Created by Cassandra Tavukciyan, a Canadian archivist and art researcher with Armenian roots, the account celebrates artworks ranging from surrealist photography to post-impressionist or socialist-realist painting.
While other accounts featured in this round-up may be more reflective, @CommunistBops will just make you laugh and compulsively press on the next video. Run by a 17-year old student in the UK, the viral Twitter account swaps patriotic Soviet anthems for pop songs by everyone from Katy Perry to The Smiths. Now that you’re probably home, you can even sing and dance along to it. No one’s watching.
Witness quotidian Central Asian life with @Novastan. The account is run by the French-German media project of the same name, which covers news from the region. The Insta account gives a sense of the rich natural and historical world of contemporary Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
Travel back to the sunnier side of USSR with @fotoussr. Street portraits, images of market queues or young pioneer dances, and Soviet cinema behind-the-scenes shots, all recreate some of the brighter atmosphere of the different Soviet eras, from the 1950s all the way to the 1980s.
Tired of looking at the same objects everyday? @MadeInYugoslavia will transport you to the everyday objects that surrounded Yugoslavs. Its curator, art historian Špela Golčer, retains an affection for the socialist-era artefacts that were once scattered around her daily life. “Yugoslav design is often overlooked in the history of industrial and graphic design,” Golčer told The Calvert Journal. “Companies like electronics manufacturer Iskra were at the forefront of industrial design. I am pleased to see that people are now recognising Yugoslav design as something unique, putting it rightfully back on the world design map.”