The "We Are Family!" photo exhibition was unveiled on May 29, 2014 at the Gorky Leisure and Culture Park in Moscow, Russia. The event, sponsored by the Center of National Glory and the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called, is part of the all-Russian "Sanctity of Motherhood" program, under the aegis of the Moscow city government.
The opening speech was delivered by Natalia Yakunina, Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the all-Russian "Sanctity of Motherhood" program, who said that the exhibition's concept had been put forward six months earlier, at the Third Forum of the "Sanctity of Motherhood" program. The event is aimed at raising public awareness of family-related issues.
"Unfortunately, many people in our country tend to be wary towards families with many children. The idea behind this exhibition was to show that a large, close-knit, happy family is an infinitely beautiful way of life. If you look at the joyful faces of the people featured in this project, you feel much more emotion than just during talks about the need to restore family values," Yakunina emphasized.
The event's honorary guests included TV host Larisa Verbitskaya; singer Roman Zhukov and his family (who are featured in the project); ice dancer Anastasia Grebenkina; pairs figure skaters Elena Leonova and Andrei Khvalko; opera singer Evgeniy Kungurov, who competed on the "Golos" (Voice) TV show; singer Katya Lel; and singer Diana Gurtskaya.
The project features photographs of 30 large families from twelve cities around Russia: from the illustrious Moscow and St. Petersburg to the modest town of Kamenka in the Penza region, from Tyumen and Barnaul to sunny Rostov-on-Don and Sochi. The project's participants include both ordinary Russian households and the families of famous theater and movie stars, musicians, TV hosts, and athletes. Among these celebrities are Ivan Okhlobystin, Egor Druzhinin, Mikhail Barshchevsky, Roman Zhukov, Semyon Altov, and Maxim Sushinsky. All of them, no matter how different they may seem at first glance, are united by their firm belief that a large and close-knit family is the true key to happiness.
The photo exhibits featured at the "We Are Family!" event are divided into three thematic groups, representing three different, unique ways of perceiving a family; we get to take a look through the eyes of three prominent Russian photographers, Vlad Loktev, Fedor Markushevich, and Kirill Ovchinnikov.
Apart from being the photographer's brilliant way of expressing himself, each photo series also represents a unique collection of family stories and accounts of real human life, told in first person. "'We Are Family!' is a unique, creative project that appeals to people of all ages: adults, youth, and children. Each photo is a true work of art, giving us a glimpse of the beautiful, amazing, and infinitely rich world that is the life of each family," says Natalia Yakunina, Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the all-Russian "Sanctity of Motherhood" program. "Today motherhood, fatherhood, and caring for your family have become the highest calling, demanding responsibility, dedication, and sacrifice. This is why it is so important for parents to be treated with universal recognition and respect. The 'We Are Family!' project is, first and foremost, aimed at supporting those who have chosen having a family as their way of life, and those who dream of starting a family."
The exhibition will be open to all visitors of Gorky Park from May 29 to June 15, 2014; on June 16, it moves to the Maisky Prosek alley at Sokolniki Park, where it will be open until June 29, 2014.