At the end of a rutted road on the outskirts of Ternopil, surrounded by a wall as thick as the trees of the Petrykiv forest, lies a secluded estate. Seventy women, reportedly ill, none older than thirty-five, reside within its boundaries. When not occupied by daily chores, they play the roles of mother, daughter, queen, wolf, monster, and pixie.
This series was made at a Soviet-era orphanage designed to protect and provide shelter to girls marked as disabled. Drake actively collaborated with the residents, drawing ideas from fairy tales, and seeing where their joint aspirations led while passing time in the seclusion of the institution. Nature, real-life activities, and the thick walls surrounding the facility became vehicles for exploring questions about isolation, the imagination, and the construction of normal female behavior.
The artwork that opens and closes the book was made over the pages of a book about Taras Shevchenko, a 19th century Ukrainian artist, ethnographer, serf, peasant, poet and imprisoned political figure who is widely revered today. Drake invited the women to paint on the artwork made by Shevchenko and his male contemporaries, re-imaging the published pages of history. In doing so they became artists, creators, ethnographers, and designers themselves.
The images were made between 2014 and 2016, but Drake's involvement with the women began years earlier when she was living in the region and first met and photographed them as children. She returned in 2014, expecting that the girls would have graduated out of the orphanage, but found most of them still living there. Working on the project, she observed on the one hand, a cruelness in the physical confinement imposed by an archaic system of control, and on the other hand, a sense of communal feminine power resulting from that confinement.