Balkans Revisited

CompanyBarcroft Media
PhotographerIoanna Sakellaraki
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

This series takes a closer look in the Balkan region and builds a narrative around memory and territory. In this work, I seek to reconstruct the 'skeleton' of the lost past nation of Yugoslavia. Where time stands still, I let the atmosphere replace the narrative. I backtrack evidence of the idyllic dream of a collectivist utopian society and I recollect signs of an unrealized future aiming at revisiting the contemporary Balkan identity. The contested landscapes, appearing peaceful at first, carry so much tragedy in them. This is what makes them vulnerable in my eyes. I aim to explore the relationship between fragility and dominance, sameness and otherness, the past and the present while building a step by step sincere identity of the Balkans in transition and more specifically a nation which survived transition. Revisiting Balkans is about bonding the existing landscape with its contemporary identity in progress.

Story

This project seeks to take a closer look in the Balkan region and build a narrative around memory and territory. I use the symbolic monumental relics of ex-Yugoslavia as cultural markers of the territory within which I work. By following the forgotten structures, I reconstruct the 'skeleton' of a lost nation. I focus on what lays beneath the surface and underneath the skin of these monuments; the untold versus the dominant. Where time stands still, I let the atmosphere replace the narrative. I backtrack evidence of the idyllic dream of a collectivist utopian society and I recollect signs of an unrealized future aiming at revisiting the contemporary Balkan identity. My initial interest in memory and territory dates back to my homeland Greece and me growing up in the transition of a new economy and social change. I never experienced war but I have been part of a nation surviving transition. And what remains behind and within it. Contested landscapes appearing peaceful but carrying so much tragedy in them. That is what makes them vulnerable in my eyes. What I seek to do in this work is explore the relationship between fragility and dominance, sameness and otherness, the past and the present while building a step by step sincere identity of the Balkans in transition and more specifically a nation which survived transition. Time is a critical factor of how we see the world around us and what we remember of. And eyes can reshape symbols of emerging identities. Where these monuments stood honourably once, they are now the forgotten messengers of a past tragedy. But the narrative is to be found in the wholeness of its native land. Where does this message belong in the timeline? Revisiting Balkans is about bonding the existing landscape with its contemporary identity in progress.

About Photographer

I am a Barcroft Media Contributor, visual storyteller and exploration photographer. My educational background and professional experience on journalism and urban culture in combination with my firing passion for photography and travelling have formed today’s projects. I document urban decay, lost architectural ruins and I focus part of my work on memory and territory.