"Home is a graveyard now. Everything turned into a cemetery."
Since February 2022, Georgia has received more than 160,000 Ukrainian refugees. For many families left behind the occupation lines in eastern Ukraine, the only way out of the warzone was through Russia – and Georgia was one of few feasible destination countries.
Missing Home explores the often invisible psychological and emotional experience of Ukrainian families who have arrived in Georgia, as they wrestle with memories of what they witnessed and what they left behind. By documenting some of the physical and psychological safe spaces Ukrainian refugees have found or made for themselves in Tbilisi, this project intends to visually hold the tension of remaking home in a new place and the ache from the absence of home left behind.
"This feeling of emptiness will be with us for a lifetime.
In our phones, we will always have those photos of our houses, now being destroyed. Photos of our favorite places, moments, and things that don't exist anymore. Before that, our everyday life and struggle -- all our earnings -- were invested in the place we were living, in our houses. And now we have nothing.
Nothing exists anymore, it's just a hole.”
-- Vitaly Narikov (38)
“My baby says, I want a normal life. What baby says that? I try to take him to the park and to the zoo. But he cries. He remembers sometimes a toy or book from home. And he cries.”
-- Ganna Serdiuk (32)
"Home is a graveyard now. Everything turned into a cemetery. The whole town was a cemetery. There were crosses all over the street, in the kindergarten."
-- Yevgeniy Smirnov (65)
"My beautiful house with my beautiful garden was destroyed.
We managed somehow to escape.
We are lucky to be alive."
-- Tatiana Andreevna Bikmaeva (69)
"We help each other here, to bear the pain of our memories."
-- Kate Timakina (17)