By the Creek, Opposite of a Meadow - PhMuseum

By the Creek, Opposite of a Meadow

Michaela Nagyidaiová

2020 - Ongoing

What began by digitising archival imagery from my family’s holiday albums turned into an exploration of magical valleys, old towns, mystical forests, and lakesides, as well as reconnecting with familiar sites that have not changed for decades.

The photographs in family albums portray the way my parents used to spend summers in Slovakia during socialism when the travel abroad was extremely limited, time-consuming, and difficult to undergo. Those, who could be afforded to travel either held a “special” position in the country, were connected to government parties, or were simply not planning to return to their homeland. Through this work, I return to places ingrained in my mind as “childhood sites” whilst also spending time in locations from the found family photographs to familiarise myself with them.

By the Creek, Opposite of a Meadow is an allegory to a dream-like place in rural Slovakia, where I used to spend almost every summer and winter as a child, playing around by the nearby creek whilst looking at a verdant meadow opposite.

The photographs portray nostalgia for youth in Slovakia as well as its ever-changing political situation since the 1990s, with the focus on places and people that I have left behind when moving away. Through reconnecting with my roots and analysing my complex relationship with the native land that I migrated from as a young woman, this project looks for the traces of my identity lost in the contemporary Slovak landscape. Moreover, it attempts to document the post-socialist identity and remnants that generations born after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 so often associate with our youth-hood and history.

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