Far from home
"Far from home"
Claudia Frontino, Cansu Yildiran y Dina Oganova
This exhibition was conceived from my perspective as an immigrant in Spain, taking into account the current social context, stirred up by a war very present in Europe, due to the economic difficulties aggravated by the pandemic and the already existing social problems. The theme of the exhibition is addressed from three different female perspectives. The three photographers have in common a sense of justice that leads them to work on uncomfortable topics. The position of women in the collective imaginary is traditionally associated with the home, being represented in the figure of the housewife. But what happens when women do not have a home? Or when they find themselves away from the comfort of home? If you experience domestic violence in your home, you are far from being comfortable. If you live in a precarious financial situation and cannot pay
rent, you are far from living safely. There are people who do not associate – or cannot associate – their home with the idea of well-being.
The economic system that for decades put individual comfort at the expense of collective well-being, left too many people far from any comfort, while some – too close to it. The consequences of such inequalities become too obvious to ignore not only socially but also ecologically – with a crisis becoming more and more apparent. The relative safety of home, for those who have it, may be
insufficient shelter from the troubles of the world.
From a photojournalistic point of view, Claudia Frontino talks about women from different backgrounds and origins — both immigrants and locals – in Barcelona to show that the problem of homelessness goes beyond well-defined knowledge. The causes that lead to these situations are quite common. Claudia has been working on the subject since 2020 when she won the Montserrat Roig award from the Barcelona City Council, which allowed her to investigate the causes and consequences of female homelessness in the Catalan capital.
Georgia, a country whose recent history features a Russian invasion of its territory – the Russo-Georgian war of 2008 during which part of its population was displaced from their homes – is currently hosting refugees from Ukraine as well as Russian exiles. Georgian documentary photographer Dina Oganova is portraying Ukrainian women refugees in her country from an intimate perspective, through which she identifies with them, having a personal relationship with Ukraine.
The third photographer, Cansu Yildiran, comes from Turkey and shows us a personal experience that explores the intimate and the cultural. Her project, The dispossessed – as the name indicates –, portrays the personal history of the place of her childhood, where the women of that area cannot own the houses or the lands they inhabit and work: this right belongs only to men. Her projects are related to discrimination based on class, gender or sexual identity and her gaze portrays an isolated world, with anachronistic traditions in which women's lives have less value than men's. An example of how politics can be so personal and how it affects our private lives.
The dissposessed - Cansu Yildiran
Deep in a valley of the Kusmer Highlands, in the Black Sea region of Turkey, lies the ancestral village: Çaykara, my homeland. Tradition dictates that the women of this village may not own the homes or the land where they live in — that right belongs to men, entirely. I photographed this landscape, and the women who inhabit it, through a personal investigation into identity and belonging, and what it means when both of the two are ambiguous.
Historically, Çaykara is a place with many layers of ‘roots’. In the first half of the 20th century, the mother tongue of most of the region’s residents was Pontic Greek, colloquially known as Romeyka; however, due to resettlement and government intervention, the use of the language has steadily declined, and it is now largely kept alive by the village oldest generations. In the 1960s, all of the villages in the region were officially renamed, further disrupting the residents’ sense of identity.
Many within the community of Çaykara still practice a life of transhumance, with much of their traditions and identity rooted in this way of life: they migrate seasonally with their cattle from settlement to settlement. But, a growth in tourism over the years has led to further dispossession of our way of life which is slowly becoming commodified. Our once tranquil lands are now home to an increasing number of hotels and inns.
I spent most of my childhood summers in Çaykara, although it was only as an adult that I came to understand why my mother, and all of the women from the village, could never feel a true sense of ownership of this land. The struggle between attaining identity and avoiding it and the tension between these two opposing forces has always been a point of contention for me.
In photographing the women of my ancestral homeland, I form a renewed intimacy with my roots, reconciling the sense of dispossession that I came to understand as my escape. I first started this project in 2016 at the age of nineteen and it has been going on ever since.
Homeless women, Survival Stories - Claudia Frontino
Female homelessness is not a natural phenomenon, but it is the result of a structural problem and affects more women than we imagine. According to the latest statistics, in Barcelona alone there are around a hundred women sleeping on the street. But being homeless is also synonymous with other scenarios beyond homelessness or living on the streets.
Some of the causes that lead women to not have decent and safe housing can be sexist violence, price increase in housing, job insecurity and social exclusion, or racism. Thus, living with an aggressor partner, occupying a flat out of necessity, sharing a house with strangers, living in a warehouse or residing in the house of the family for whom you work can also be called homelessness. Although these forms are not so visible, they are very common and specific to female homelessness.
In this project you will meet four strong, brave and resilient women who explain what it is like to live without a home or without decent housing in Barcelona and who give their confessions to contribute to the destigmatization of their cases and those of so many other women throughout Spain.
Nenka Ukraine (Mother Ukraine) - Dina Oganova
I have a very personal relationship with Ukraine. For a long time now it’s been my second home country and I’m calling it Nenka, my Mother Ukraine. Lots of beautiful memories of people and places have been shattered by the Russian bombs.
The 24th of February of this year has become the beginning of my nightmare when I woke up in the white mountains to the news of the invasion in my beloved Kyiv. It was shocking and it feels like it's not going to stop any time soon. What scares me the most in this world is the war and it is a feeling I experienced before.
In 1991 when I was a little girl Russia invaded my land to occupy the paradise called Abkhazia, which is similar to Crimea of Ukraine, with exit to the Black Sea and in 2008 again Russia set foot in Georgia to take South Ossetia. These are the parts of the country where we are not allowed to enter as Georgian citizens with our pas- sports because it’s under Russian control and they are expanding borders to this day, every day. At this moment 20 % of my home country, Georgia, is occupied by Russia and war is going on in my second home country - Ukraine. I know what it means to be a refugee in your own country and I understand how hard it is to leave everything that you love, what you built, what you care for and especially who you love in order to survive.
In my double exposure photos, I selected photographs of several cities from Ukraine from the Internet to show how they look at the moment and took portraits of brave Ukrainian women which belonged to those cities. These women became refugees and now live in Georgia waiting for the end of the war so they can go back home, even if that home does not exist anymore.
Tatyana / Mariupol
I heard about the war on the morning of the 24th February when I was reading the news on the phone. To tell the truth, I can't believe that it's really happening. In the news, it was already announced that there were shootings in every city of Ukraine and we were just afraid to go out. For some reason, we thought that they would only throw a few bombs and that would be the end of it.
For a few days I was in my mom's apartment, then the shootings were more frequent and directed at us and we took refuge in the university's basement but because of the cold we soon decided to move. We drove to the border with Crimea, spent the night in Feodosia, then we stayed for three days in Krasnoda and from there we went to Vladikavkaz. After waiting 30 hours at the border we arrived in Georgia, and now we are in Sighnaghi.
I have been involved in sports for years and I have been dreaming of coming to Georgia for a long time. Exactly two days before the war, I came to Gudauri to skate and it turned out that I could not return to Ukraine. Now I live in Tbilisi and work as a fitness trainer where I charge people any amount they can give and then transfer the money to Ukrainian athletes. We are doing everything we can and I believe this horror will be over soon and I will be able to go home and hug my family.
Daria / Járkov
When the war started we were in Tbilisi because my husband is Georgian and we were spending winter holidays with his family. It was an incredibly terrible feeling to realise that I'm not with my beloved family in such a horrible moment when the war has started. I'm trying my best to help them from Georgia. I managed to get my aunt here, but my whole family is still there and they don't want to leave their home which is totally destroyed now, but the whole Ukraine is our home and I do believe that this war will finish soon and Ukraine will win.
Maria / Odessa
When I left Ukraine, I took our soil with me. The same soil on which the Russians are now walking and destroying everything around and it hurts me a lot.
My father, who is 74 years old and lives near Kyiv, I cannot bring him to Georgia be- cause he does not want to leave the country and I’m on the phone all the time, just to hear his voice, to know that he is alive, and it is a terrible feeling. I'm constantly wait- ing for something bad, constantly thinking that he won't answer me the next day.