Opening Fri. Jan 5, 6-9pm
“Titoism: Amid Nostalgia and Desire”
This is a series of 27 photos – nine stories, short biographies and items from the subject’s craft illustrated through photography.
Unfolding ten narratives that occur at different geographical locations throughout Macedonia, “Titoism: Amid Nostalgia and Desire”, attests for a generation of people whose inclination towards Yugoslavia, can still be felt after twenty-six years of independence.
Capturing their habitual surroundings where enveloped by objects with which decorating their homes the people articulate the lingering feelings they still have towards Yugoslavia, Shekerov gradually opens up dialogue and invites us to think along with him, wondering if a keepsake can be more than just a reminder of a past. More precisely, if such objects can hold both sentimental longings and prospects.
Born in 1992, for Shekerov, Yugoslavia and the image of Josip Broz Tito is something he got acquainted with through his grandfather’s stories and photographs found in an old family album. Family albums allow one to become familiar with one’s past, and sometimes that of our own. In the exhibition, Shekerov uses his old family album conceived throughout the years by his grandfather, in a subtle manner as a way to connect with the people he photographs. The accumulated knowledge in Shekerov’s case is the support for an immediate connection between them.
Attesting for a lived past time, the photographs carry in them traces of nostalgia, while simultaneously reminding us that this gestures of giving space to objects and collecting portraits and symbols of Yugoslavia are also a way to hold onto and continue the values that they associate with their past. Capturing the particular way in which the objects are kept in their environment and how they are taken care for, Shekerov foregrounds that their meaning is more than just a sentimental value. Holding onto a map of a country that does not exist anymore, or declaring as Yugoslavian, is perhaps a way for them to say that a belief in shared values is still possible and conceivable necessary. Thus, in those moments, the documentary photographs, intimately showing people’s belongings gains a socio-political significance.
The willingness of the people we encounter in the photographs to open the doors of their homes is a sign that they do not want their story to end with them, but to continue through the visitors, evoking curiosity for a specific time. Not as a history but as a way of living.
This can also be read through the gesture of presenting a forget me not token. A small present, given to Shekerov during their conversation. A sign of a recognition between two people who regardless the age difference have interest towards the same subject…
Exhibition dates: Jan 3 – 27, 2017
Gallery hours: Wed-Sat 12-6pm Sunday 12-4pm