Little Georgia

Little Georgia is a series of photographs about the Georgian community in Athens.

The last years Greece was under the spotlight due to the Syrian war and the consequent refugee crisis. Certainly, many times in the past people fled from war zones or economically destroyed countries and came to Greece as a first country choice or in a transit status. As a matter of fact, during the ’90s, after the collapse of the so called former Eastern bloc, Greece became a destination country for migrants and refugees, looking for a better future. Over the past few years I became interested in the Georgian community in Athens, which is considered to be one of the largest migrant communities in Greece. It is known that Georgia has experienced two wars since the 90s, the war in Abkhazia (1992-1993) and the Russo-Georgian war (2008). It is also known that the large trend of migration from Georgia to Greece is a predominantly female phenomenon; Georgian women come to Greece to work mainly as domestic workers (cleaning, childcare, taking care of the old or sick) and often they face stigmatization, financial exploitation and illegalization. I decided to photograph some Georgian women in Athens, at their homes, on their days off, as they hang-out or celebrate. Finally, I got more and more familiar with their lifestyle, their ways of surviving and their practices of mutual support in their new home country.

The aim of this project is to challenge stereotypes and racial prejudices against Georgian women. Documenting a part of their lives is a small contribution to that cause.

Little Georgia is about a migrant woman’s world.

(2014-on going)

 

Detail from a boarding house for Georgian women. It is very common for Georgian women who work as live-in domestic workers to share an apartment and stay there on their days off. That home is like no other. Usually, for six days it is totally empty and quiet, without someone living in. It gets alive only on Sundays. It is a weekly meeting point, a place of their own to stay and relax. It is a Sunday home.

 
Rusudan on her day off. Rusudan is a live-in domestic worker. On her day off, Rusudan usually sends money back to Georgia, spends some time with friends or goes at her second job.

Rusudan on her day off. Rusudan is a live-in domestic worker. On her day off, Rusudan usually sends money back to Georgia, spends some time with friends or goes at her second job.

 

Marina on her day off at the boarding house.

 

Theona during her three months stay. Nowdays, Georgian citizens can visit up to three months Greece and the E.U. without a visa, for tourism or family reasons.

 

Katia playing at home. Katia's mother learned the Greek language at work, while Katia at school.

 

Dining table, Katia’s home.

 

Nino at home.

 

Usually older women or very young women or women whose children live in Georgia, work inside the employer’s house, as live-in domestic workers. Nino came to Greece with her family and needs to seek out a job that allows her to take care of her family too.

 

Nino and a friend drinking at a Georgian restaurant. From time to time,Georgian women organize a collective night out to Georgian restaurants. Especially on holidays. It is very important for them to all get together and to share their latest news, to update their network. Usually, there aren’t any men among them and the restaurants get crowded only by women who laugh, dance, drink.

 

Georgian women dancing at a Georgian restaurant.

 

Birthday party at a Georgian restaurant.

 

Many Georgian mums spend their afternoons at Saint Paul’s yard, sitting on benches. Some of them are so sick of Saint Paul’s yard. “Saint Paul again, all the time Saint Paul!” But what can they do since “the children love it there”.

 

Spending Sunday morning.

 

Nona lives in Athens with her daughter.

 

Liza, Nona’s daughter sitting on the balcony.

 

Liza playing.

 

Sofa with stuffed puppies, Nino’s home.

 

Nino dreaming.