Something borrowed, something red
Dates2020 - Ongoing
- Topics Contemporary Issues, Fine Art, Portrait
- Locations Turkmenistan, Georgia
Addressing identity in the decolonial framework of the former Soviet republics, this project aims to understand the place I was born and raised and how its historical changes have shaped me.
Living abroad for most of my adulthood, I became worried about losing connection with Turkmenistan and its culture -- significant parts of my identity. Addressing identity in the decolonial framework of the former Soviet republics, this project aims to understand the place I was born and raised and how its historical transformations have shaped me.
The project conceptually consists of four parts and is based on my personal experience of being a stranger among my own, as a child of interethnic marriage, who grew up in a city and in a typical Soviet family. The project also reflects on my attempts to blend in: as a teenager, I would borrow Turkmen dresses from my cousins as a tool to blend in in Turkmen villages. For this project, I repeat the action of blending in by borrowing dresses from friends and performing in front of the camera.
In this project I also turn to mythology -- stories I often heard in my childhood. These stories are built around female mythical figures -- Peri. One that I remember hearing frequently is based on an encounter between Peri and Sultan Sanjar, who were not destined to stay together. This myth is a symbol of longing and separation. Just like I ache and long for home and my culture the memory of which and connection are slowly slipping away.
Finally, the project also involves research on the effects of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union on my home region, the formation of my identity, cultural appropriation, and the importance of the colour red in Turkmen culture.
With the help of the grant, I will be able to continue my research, travel to relevant locations and continue the work on the project. Financing would also eventually help me develop the project into a book.