“Landscapes – actual, remembered or idealized – feed our sense of belonging to whatever place, region or nation that we view as homeland.”
'Homeland' is a multi-layered, research based photographic practice where I have explored the place of my childhood and where my Armenian-Greek father once had a dream to build a house for our family, but unfortunately couldn’t finish as he passed away when I was only 6 months young. Project became a story about the sea, land and memory in the longest village in the country and also of how time affects and changes our sense of place.
It is a multi-layered narrative within a self-published book in 2016 and serves a nostalgic representation of the place and also its recent history from World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 via interviews, notes and archival imagery. As the curtain fell, the local economy changed, and in 2004, upon joining the EU, it changed again. These historical shifts made a huge impact on the society and its dreams, many of which the younger generations abandoned.
My father migrated in early 80s from Tbilisi, Georgia to Riga, Latvia where he met my Latvian-Russian mother at the time when both countries were still part of the Soviet Union. One day in the early 80s my dad and his very good friend and colleague decided to drive northwest from Riga in search of a place to build a family home. Dad had always wanted a house by the sea. Back then, as his friend once told me, they stopped at the longest village and admired the amazingly tall pine trees in the forest and huge rocks by the sea. Right away my father knew that this is where he wanted to live for the rest of his life and raise his children.
The village is located between the forest and the sea around 100 km northwest of the capital Riga. In the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century it was the second most productive village in the country. 55 seagoing sailing ships were built there.