State of Things is part of an ongoing project that studies the dynamic of post-memory in relation to the ethnic cleansing and forced uprooting that the Greeks of the Black Sea were subjected to during the formation of the Turkish and Greek nation states in the early twentieth century.
The series documents a descendant’s attempt to retrace her family’s lost history and questions the borders between the family album and the archive. It looks into the power relations between knowledge, experience and truth that produce an archive and its role in forming identities and national history. The work focuses on four generations of women in the family; Parthenope, Elisavet (Liza), Parthenope (Popi) and Elisavet (Eliza). It was a song, an ‘exotic’ dish, St George’s necklace, the odd swear word in a strange dialect, a proverb that would pop up suddenly and remind me that my family had come to Greece from somewhere far. Cross culturally women have been the natural keepers of the family album.
In the absence of a private family archive under the specific historical context, they became something more; the guardians of memory-work that could not be recorded. Ultimately the work seeks to remind us how today’s refugee women are called to play a similar challenging role. They have to build a new notion of home and to re-define their identity whilst, under difficult conditions, keeping and passing on to the next generations a diverse self-definition that derives from the memory of their origins.
More of Elisavet’s work can be been here.