A Sense of Direction
During the Greek Civil War that occurred after the Second World War, many children and people had to flee Greece from the affected areas. Some of them were placed into former communist/socialist countries such as Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania or Eastern Germany. Former Czechoslovakia accepted almost 13,000 Greek Civil War refugees. No one had the knowledge of how long they would have to remain in the country.
A Sense of Direction is about connecting an individual with a specific landscape and environment in Czech Republic, where the person spent a significant amount of time growing up after the transportation from Greece.
Czech Republic / April 2019 - Ongoing
Safehouse 1 & 2, Peckham / London, 14/06/2019
Installation photos by Sheng Zhang
Hand-made book of the project
Hard Cover, Pefect Bidning, Square Format Book
Photographs of a few pages from the book
My grandmother was four years old, when she had to escape her village in northern Greece called Antartiko, or Zhelevo in Macedonian. She arrived to former Czechoslovakia in 1948, immediately being placed into an orphanage in an old bathhouse. Then, she would be placed into three other orphanages created for Greek/Macedonian children in old manors and such. Until today, she shares a special connection with one of them - located in the town of Nové Hrady. To make this work, we visited it together and slept there for a few nights.
The aim of this project is to focus on her remembrance, her story as well as how it feels to re-visit a place of her 'childhood' again. It wishes to delve into how some layers of one’s memory possibly recover when re-discovering one’s memorable site. Together, we worked with her recollections and as she took me through the town of Nové Hrady and manor, I was making photographs.
We also picked up different objects from the manor's garden and its surroundings, which were later turned into photograms in the dark room. The aim of the photograms is to create something tangible out of her memory, so all the items used for them are connected to her life in the former orphanage.