When I was a child, my nightmares featured people I loved being taken from me or a nameless threat striking when I was alone and unable to find my parents. I was a child of the Cold War. My parents were refugees who escaped from Hungary in 1956 when Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest and suppressed the revolution for freedom from a Stalinist regime. Growing up in London, I would mark time until my grandparents could come to visit us or until we would be granted a visa to visit Hungary. It was terrifying knowing there was a force more powerful than my parents that could determine when and if we saw our family.
Today, as a parent of three teenagers, I watch the creeping rise of authoritarian governments and hear extreme rhetoric across the world, my childhood fears that a tyrannical force will take my family’s freedoms fill me with fear.
In this work I thread the personal, historical, political, and psychological through association. I combine images from a twentieth century Hungarian community-based archive, my parents’ archival images, photographs appropriated from current reportage, as well as photographs I make within my own family context and daily life. Placing images from different eras and sources side by side collapses the sense that time has elapsed, that political situations have changed, and emphasizes the similarities between the last century and today.
“Although life has to be lived forwards it can only be understood backwards” – Soren Kierkegaard