It smells of smoke at home

Aliona Kardash
What remains of a home when one‘s own country becomes a perpetrator? Who do you become yourself when your own family suddenly feels like strangers?
Born in Russia the year before the collapse of the Soviet Union, I moved to Germany in 2019. I told my German friends a lot about this place, of which beyond stereotypes, hardly anyone knew anything. Since the beginning of the war, I doubt whether I truly understood what defined my homeland. It has turned into a collection of dusty memories, and I can no longer say if these memories ever corresponded to reality.
In the week after the war began, I wrote a letter to my parents but I never sent it. We’ve talked about the war once. They would say: about the special operation. My work “It smells of smoke at home” is a visual diary capturing the fading reality that, on the surface, seems to be the same, but it has deep wounds and scars when you look beneath. It’s my farewell to the place of childhood and my illusions.