02 March 2020

Pictures from a Traumatic Familial Memory

02 March 2020 - Written by PhMuseum

By reappropriating and manipulating images by various means, visual artist Aimilia Balaska looks to reshape and rework her family archival materials to heal from a complex past.

With what images does one recreate the sense of home, when you have lost both your parents at an early age, your mother being deceased, and you being sexually abused by a relative?

In the beginning, they appear as black dots, like holes, where you are being sucked in, restrained in their darkness. Then there is rage. Rage towards your mother, who died and left you: you appropriate family photos and you erase the face, you burn it, you stick needles. You then damage your own face, your relatives, everyone who has been hurt, has remained silent or has afflicted pain on you.

This is my story but in a sense, it can be applied to everyone, if you change the scale of the pain, of restriction, of guilt. So the image opens up and becomes a material to work with, its transparency leads me to the events which trigger the memories. The works oscillate between metaphor and reality, but they make me move forward.

The dots become faces, they have names, they are stories to be discussed, narrated, exposed. They are filled with light to become stars – of memory and of enlightenment.

Words and Pictures by Aimilia Balaska.


Aimilia Balaska was born in South Africa. She lives and works in Athens as a graphic designer. She is a visual artist experimenting with photographic materials and design. She studied Interior Design and Graphic Design.She is currently taking the MA in Photography & Visual Language from Middlesex University & AKTO college in Athens. Find her on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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