2017 - 2018

In continuation of my most recent projects "Kingdom of Chamla" and "Mother”, I have been developing a new body of work connected to Bulgaria. By exploring my family history, I try to understand how the lives of my relatives and their contemporaries were affected by the significant political, economic and social events of the time. Such events are the forceful change of names (from Muslim to Slavic names) of a significant part of the Bulgarian population during the Revival Process (the 1970s - 90s). Many of these people were of a Turkish descent, some were Pomaks (Bulgarian Musilms) - Bulgarians who had been converted to Islam during the 500 years Ottoman Rule (1396-1878).

Vera was the name of my paternal grandmother. I was named after her, however, she had another name before I was born. A name she was forced to forsake and never use again. In several of the self-portraits in this ongoing photographic series, I am wearing a traditional dress that belonged to her in attempt to commemorate the lives of the countless people forced to change their names, religion, traditions and language during the Revival Process in Bulgaria. I am interested in how these historical events have affected the cultural and national identity of these people and their descendants. 

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