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The accompanying diary entries from Georgs Avetisjans trip to Siberia in 2019-2020. During his journey, he was writing a personal diary and reflecting on thoughts, observations, and the process of making the work Motherland: Far Beyond the Polar Circle.
The book Motherland: Far Beyond the Polar Circle is a visual and investigative journey to understand secrets guarded in the past. Using a Soviet-made medium format camera, the Salut, Georgs narrates the story of a town built upon the bones of Soviet prisoners 163 kilometres beyond the polar circle where many deportees once lived. Considered enemies of the USSR, many were taken to the Gulag camps and left to die from cold, starvation, and poverty.
Georgs went to a town Far North in Siberia, where his mom was born in 1952 and where his grandma spent 15 years in exile. She was deported in 1941. The author went on the Trans-Siberian train from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk, where he boarded a small plane to Igarka. It was his journey through the past on the railroad tracks of exile.
Tracing these painful accounts made him imagine his grandma and her fearful journey into the unknown. Georgs wanted to see the town where his grandma lived and find the house where his mom was born. He wanted to experience the seemingly infinite landscapes of Northern Siberia and the Yenisei River surrounding the town and meet its inhabitants. While often romanticized by ordinary Russians, this vast expanse holds many recollections Georgs is excavating and bringing to the surface.
We believe this book and inclusive materials, letters, and found diary entries will raise awareness of these political crimes, propaganda, and history that repeats itself in modern-day Russia, where deportations are still a political tradition of the Soviet Union. The book shows how quickly the past is forgotten.
The Russian regime continues to use the same methods. More than a million are already deported from the temporarily occupied territories to the Far East regions in Siberia. It is essential to make awareness of such history through a multidisciplinary process, research, and compilation.
This book is the second chapter of the trilogy. Each part deals separately with the notions and meanings of Homeland, Motherland, and Fatherland from a deeply personal and autobiographical perspective. All three parts are multi-layered photographic narratives in the form of a photobook with cross-references like hyperlinks to additionally inserted stories connected to the subjects and landscape.
Published by Milda Books
Edition of 250
105 x 148.5 mm