top of page

I was invited to visit a contemporary art space and residency program in Sokhumi, Abkhazia, called SKLAD. Upon arrival, I found they had no time for me, leaving a lot of free time alone in Sokhumi. Luckily, my Airbnb hosts were welcoming, and their daughter's help through phone translation made my stay enjoyable.

Drawn to Gagra by its beaches and historical relics, I had free time to explore. I spontaneously booked a place called Gaga Style, a charming wooden cabin geared towards families. Despite my lack of Russian, the warm and receptive owner gave me special treatment, including escorting me to dinner and driving me back to Sokhumi, sparing me the difficult bus ride.

During the drive, she repeatedly mentioned you know there was a war here. I found this so interesting since it was evident throughout Abkhazia. At some point during our trip she pointed to an area and said this is where I am from. Only then I noticed a scar that ran across her check. How did I not notice before?

At this moment, I had this spontaneous memory, like a flash that took over all my senses. I found myself in a home. The house was dark. It felt like it was early morning. I was not alone, but I felt utterly alone. I was hiding. I was hiding in the corner but allowing myself to peek outside the window, knowing I had to be silent. My body was frozen. I knew there was people outside. I knew this was the end for me and the people in the house. I knew there was nothing left. I knew that from that moment on, I had no control, sitting in the half-light, watching, waiting to be found, waiting to be raped, waiting to lose everything I know, even my body; there's nothing left.

I sat in the car with this woman silently as we drove further away from where she was from. I could not tell her what I saw; even though it shook every molecule in my body, she kept telling me there was a war here. And I said I knew and then sat in silence. 

bottom of page