By the Creek, Opposite of a Meadow 12 July - 18 July 2021
My parents once said that the chill of crossing borders and feeling like “an escapee” had stayed with them since socialism. Instead of focusing specifically on borders, I wished to pay attention to what’s within - the places where my parents were seeking “a sanctuary, an escape” throughout the past system in Slovakia.
Serving as a connection between my parents’ and my own recollections of youth, the core of the work are childhood memories. I explored the historical and political climate of Slovakia, through our contrasting youth-hoods experienced against the backdrop of two contradictory political systems - socialism and democracy. Occasionally, my parents tell me stories about illegally tuning into Radio Free Europe or how they couldn’t cross the border and visit Vienna even for a day, as we have been doing since I was born. The stories bring me back to times I cannot possibly know, times before 1989 when the freedom of movement was extremely restricted. The project serves as a “map of utopias”, examining locations tied to the youth of my parents and memories of vacationing within Slovakia, and returning to places ingrained as my own childhood sites.
Through reconnecting with my roots and analysing my relationship with the native land that I left as a young woman, this work’s intention is to portray a trans-generational connection to our native environment and to understand the remnants of socialism that are still present in countless locations within Slovakia.
Michaela Nagyidaiova (b. 1996, Bratislava, Slovakia) is a documentary photographer based in her native Bratislava. She is interested in discovering personal stories, analysing the connection between landscape and memory, the impact of socialism in Slovakia and Eastern Europe, as well as identity and ancestral heritage.
Documenting places, people, or objects that she has a connection with, is what drives her to take photographs. Michaela often works with memories, such as visualising someone else’s or her own memories through images, archival materials as well as text. Her work examines historically significant landscapes that have over time become forgotten or hidden in our contemporary life. This way, the intention is to revive the past, discuss it, and relate it to our present-day issues.
In 2019, she graduated from MA in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication.