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A Sense of Direction

Photographed in Czech Republic, 2019, ongoing
Second part of the story can be found here. 

 Examining a deep connection between an individual and a specific landscape, this project looks at displacements, concealed family secrets, memory, migration and roots.

 

A Sense of Direction addresses the displacements happening throughout the Greek Civil War. Thousands of children from the country were placed into former communist/socialist states such as former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Eastern Germany, Poland or Romania. No one had the knowledge of when or if these civil war refugees would be repatriated back to their homeland. 

 

My family originating from northern Greece was impacted by the civil war, as my grandmother was one of the children sent to former Czechoslovakia in 1948 by the communist troops operating under the Greek Communist Party.

 

This work is based on a collaboration between my grandmother and myself, where we explored one of four children homes, in which she used to live as a Greek Civil War refugee. 

 

Delving into her memories of the time, when she used to live in the children’s home, the work examines her current connection to the location and the way it shaped her identity whilst growing up there. We travelled to the location of the children’s home and began to re-discover it together. 

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In Remembrance from

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MichaelaNagyidaiova_ASenseofDirection
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MichaelaNagyidaiova_ASenseofDirection
MichaelaNagyidaiova_ASenseofDirection

A photograph of a few young girls in the garden of the children's house. My grandmother is sitting on the grass on the right side of the picture. From my grandmother's archive.

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MichaelaNagyidaiova_ASenseofDirection
MichaelaNagyidaiova_ASenseofDirection

Nové Hrady children's home for Greek Civil War refugees

 

In one of our interviews, my grandmother mentioned that the children had to wait in front of the children's home for a few minutes every morning to honor the countries of Greece, former Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union.

 

Image found in ASKI archives, Athens, used with their permission.

Greek Civil War refugees holding a Greek flag (the flag was in use until 1978 when a new one was introduced) and a poster saying "Long live the friendship between Greece and Czechoslovakia". Photographed in Czech Republic.

 

Image found in ASKI archives, Athens, used with their permission.

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MichaelaNagyidaiova_ASenseofDirection
MichaelaNagyidaiova_ASenseofDirection

The photograms were made using a conifer branch, moss, and grass. All of these objects had been collected in the surroundings of the children's home.

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MichaelaNagyidaiova_ASenseofDirection
 Installation Views and Book Images 

Group show Propagate, 14 June 2019 in Safehouse I & II, Peckham.

 

Installation photos by Sheng Zhang.

Hand-made book of the project:

Hard Cover, Perfect Binding

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