Ioanna Sakellaraki

Born in 1989 in Athens,Greece, Ioanna currently lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. She documents urban decay and lost architectural ruins and she focuses part of her work on memory and territory. In the past, she has collaborated with Caters News Agency and she is currently a Contributor for Barcroft Media. She has steadily pursued photography for the last five years. She holds a Photography Diploma and she is also a graduate of Journalism and Urban Cultures. In the past, she has also worked as an Editor and Communications Strategist for NGOs in Europe.

Balkans Revisited

This series seeks to take a closer look in the and build a narrative around memory and territory. My interest lays on the architectural ruin which is created in order to deepen the historical character of a landscape, to make nature suggestive of the past.

I am very much interested in the relationship between my photography practice and ideas relating to aesthetically mapping the historical and contemporary context of relations with global and social systems of power. Balkans Revisited speaks about the lost idyllic dream of a collectivist utopian society and the unrealized future of a nation in transition.

My homeland Greece has an archetypical aura and ambiguous personal importance in this work. I never experienced war but I have been part of a nation surviving transition. And what remains behind and within it. Contested landscapes appearing peaceful but carrying so much tragedy in them. That is what makes them vulnerable in my eyes.

What I seek to do in this series is explore the relationship between fragility and dominance, sameness and otherness, the past and the present. Taken over the course of 2016-2017 during my visits in Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, I used the symbolic monumental relics of ex-Yugoslavia as cultural markers of the territory within which I worked.

By following the forgotten structures, I aimed at reconstructing the ‘skeleton’ of a lost nation. My work focuses on what lays beneath the surface and underneath the skin of these monuments; the untold versus the dominant; the powerful and solid patterns of solitude and nostalgia between the still barriers of the past and the fragile peripheries of the present.

To view more of Ioanna’s work please visit her website.