Work in progress
My Lost Motherland Pontos
Pontos was the name of the Eastern Blacksea region of Turkey before the genocide and proclamation of republic. I have Pontos origins. This is an assimilated and banned identity & Pontos is not recognized by official history of Turkish Republic.
Before the population exchange after the World War I happened between Turkey and Greece, hundreds of thousands Pontic Greek resisted against forced exile and a systematic genocide happened (1916-1924). My story starts at this point.
Pontos was a christian region and dominant language spoken in the region was Romeika. Romeika is a language that is similar to Greek, it is used only in Pontos and it is going extinct. It is still used by elders in my village but it hasn’t been adapted by younger generations. Along with the language, the culture is on the brink of extinction too. I would like to document my ancestral language and culture.
I would like to travel 8 cities of the region starting with my hometown and capital of Pontos: Trabzon. I would like to document monasteries, churches that are in ruins along with statues of genocidal guerrilla leaders such as Topal Osman that have been erected as they were heroes. I also will be searching for my lost identity as I follow my greek roots, language and culture.
I have worked for my Dispossessed series in the region between 2016-2019 focusing on women and realized that the history held much bigger dispossessions and oppressions had historical roots.