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Dear Grandma,...

"Dear Grandma," is a project I started working on in spring 2021. It was finished (or so I thought) in September 2021;

currently the photobook is in digital, with only one copy printed, and it is with my Grandma.

Here you can see a few photos from the book and a digital flipbook.


We haven't seen each other for more than two years, and we will probably never meet again in person.

First, there was Covid, and I couldn't fly home to hug my family. At that time Grandma got very unwell,

and just as I was about to book a plane to finally see her, Russian troops invaded Ukraine, and I got cut off again,

this time for the unforeseeable future.

Meanwhile, terminal cancer is taking my Grandma's life, day by day. It is heartbreaking to know that your loved one is slowly disappearing, and you can't be there to spend those last days with them, talk through a million important things, and just hold them tight till they inevitably slip away.

This project is about experiencing loneliness on a new level; it's about the tight connection I have

with a loved one — my Grandma, and it's also about my helplessness when facing the circumstances I have no control over. I wanted to express my feelings for my Grandma, a person I am closest to in the family.

I also explored the similarities and differences in the way I have lived through my depression episode and the way

my Grandmother has been dealing with hers. In the photographs, I talk to her using a sequence of symbols

and visual cues known only to us two.

Essentially, it's a photobook for two: me and her.


September 2022 update:
Grandma passed away on September 15th, 2022.
We didn't get a chance to see each other in person.
I didn't get a chance to hug her and be with her when she left us.
I wish I could say that she passed away peacefully or slipped away gracefully, but unfortunately it wasn't the case. Gran was in unspeakable pain, both physical and mental. She begged my mother to give her more medication than was safe to take, so that she could be in control of her life and its end. Because she could control neither her body nor the horrific things the leaders of her motherland kept doing in her name. 
She couldn't cope with this tragedy repeating itself.
All this could have been avoided, had she lived in a country with far healthier relationships between the government and its people.

In her last few months with us, Gran started telling more of her life that we ever thought we knew. She revealed a grim, traumatic side of her past, which I now cannot ignore, and which needs to find its way into the book.

I will continue working on this book, eventually making a second part or transforming the book altogether. 

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