A Grave in the Garden: Johanna-Maria Fritz

17 January - 25 February 2023

„When the war in Ukraine started on 24.02.2022, I was still in Afghanistan. The news shocked me, of course, and I immediately thought about how and when I could travel to Ukraine. On Sunday, 27 February, I set off together with other journalists in the direction of Kyiv.


Via Lviv we drove into the unknown, we didn‘t really know what the situation was like in Kyiv and were spontaneously allowed to accompany an escort with the famous waistcoats and helmets from Germany. We drove quickly and always with a police escort from the respective region. We stayed in and around Kyjiw for a fortnight and concentrated heavily on Irpin. Later we also visited Vasylkiw and other surrounding towns.


But the places in the north remain strongly in my mind. Especially Butscha: one day after the liberation, we were almost the first journalists to visit the place. The people were happy about the end of the occupation, but the wounds of war were still present at every corner. Killed and executed Ukrainians lay everywhere on the streets, in houses, gardens or cellars. It was only after the liberation that the inhabitants of Butscha understood the extent of the terror and so there were many exhumations in gardens and burials in the cemetery every day.“


Johanna-Maria Fritz officially lives in Berlin - but in reality she is on the road all year round. She studied photography at the Ostkreuzschule and has been a member of the agency of the same name since the beginning of 2019. Her photos have been published in Spiegel, Zeit, National Geographic and Newsweek China, among others, and most recently in Stern and GEO. She has been awarded the Inge Morath Prize, the Lotto Brandenburg Prize and the VG-Bild Scholarship for her work.


She has exhibited all over the world: from Australia to France, Germany and Switzerland, as well as in China and the USA.


The works shown here were created in the first months of the war in the Kyiv region, in Irpin and Butscha. Since the beginning of November, Johanna has been travelling again in Ukraine to document the consequences of the war, most recently in the Donbas and at the turn of the year in Kyiv.




Opening of the photo exhibition "A Grave in the Garden"
by Johanna-Maria Fritz, Introduction by Dr. Dirk Tölke
17.01.2023, 18h, ARTCO Gallery, Seilgraben 31, 52062 Aachen, Germany

Film screening "Ruthenia. Cultural Code of Ukraine" 
& exchange with film director Antonina Gotfrid, UA with English subtitles - 2020
24.01.2023, 18h, Apollo Kino&Bar, Pontstraße 141 -149, 52062 Aachen - Entry: 7,50 €

Film screening "Mother of the Apostles"
Zaza Buadze - UA with English subtitles - 2020 
03.02.2023, 18h, Apollo Kino&Bar, Pontstraße 141 -149, 52062 Aachen - Entry: 7,50 €

Talk Session "Colonialism. Lessons from the past." 
presentation and talk session with Mariya Benovska, Ukrainians in Aachen e. V.
07.02.2023, 18h, ARTCO Gallery, Seilgraben 31, 52062 Aachen

Reading "The Yellow Prince", Vasyl Barka in memory of Holodomor, 
the great starvation 1932-33, Anna Kysil, Ukrainians in Aachen e. V.
15.02.2023, 18h, ARTCO Gallery, Seilgraben 31, 52062 Aachen