Yugoslavia fell apart in 1991. With the disappearance of the country, at least 1,500,000 Yugoslavs vanished, like the citizens of Atlantis, into the realm of imaginary places and people. Today, in the countries that came into being after Yugoslavia's disintegration, there is a total denial of the Yugoslav identity.
“There proceeds steadily from that place a stream of events which are a source of danger to me,” wrote the Anglo-Irish writer, Rebecca West in 1937. “That place” was Yugoslavia, the country in which I was born. Realising that to know nothing of an area “which threatened her safety” was “a calamity”, she embarked on a journey through Yugoslavia. The result was Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. Initially intended as “a snap book” it spiralled into half a million words, a portrait not just of Yugoslavia, but also of Europe on the brink of the Second World War, and widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of the 20th century.
At Easter in 2011, I started retracing Westʼs journey and re-interpreting her masterpiece by using photography and text, an attempt to re-live my experience of Yugoslavia and to re-examine the conflicting emotions and memories of the country that was.