“Overtime” portrays a top government-backed women’s football club in Moscow’s suburbs from 2018 to 2021. It raises questions about whether queer women can represent a right wing ideology in a country where LGBTQ+ community, by law, is considered a terrorist movement. Despite their dedication, they earn minimum wage with games drawing only family and friends. In 2018, a player told me that during the presidential elections, the team was instructed to vote for Putin. She emphasized that they weren’t asked to provide proof from inside the voting booth. Despite that, the majority complied.

Another athlete, aged 17, told me that the national team coach outed her to her parents, causing her great distress. The same coach, for years, withheld money, policed the team’s living quarters, and monitored their phones.

My photographs reflect the limited freedom the players are allowed. The impending doom is ever present, with fireworks dangerously close to housing projects, black smoke engulfing the field, and a torn and mended net set against the dark sky. This is the world that stays hidden with its new generation of unseen queer women in Moscow, and they can only be awakened from within, not by some outside forces.

Bio: Margo Ovcharenko is a Kyiv-based artist born in Soviet Russia, currently displaced. She graduated from The Rodchenko Art School in 2011 and Hunter College MFA via the Fulbright scholarship program in 2015. She resided at Fabrica S.P.a. in 2011, Italy.
Her work was shortlisted by Aperture for the first photobook award in 2018 and for a portfolio in 2022. In 2019, she was selected for “Body: The Photography Book” by Nathalie Herschdorfer and in 2011 for “reGeneration2—Tomorrow’s Photographers Today” by Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne.
Ovcharenko, deeply engaged with feminist and queer discourse, has worked with LGBTQ+ subjects for over 14 years in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Her projects focus on Soviet and Russian propaganda, sports, queer intimacy, and empowerment through self-expression.