As a child, I always desperately waited for summer vacation.
Every summer breath fed a desire to lie down on the green grass and enjoy a fresh piece of red watermelon. As I grow older, I realize that those summer trips held more spiritual significance than simply fulfilling the freedom of my carefree childhood.
Every childhood experience is different, and each of us embraces it with a different mindset and experience. For me, most childhood memories are fragile and, in some ways, impenetrable.
Regardless of how sweet, over time those memories start to fade, leaving nothing more than foggy contours.
Childhood Reimagined is a photo project about my village, Zemo Nakalakari, in Georgia’s eastern Tianeti Municipality, and my young neighbor, Saba, whose joyful spirit and enthusiasm was so contagious it instantly threw me back to my early childhood memories. His childish innocence and positive energy reminded me of the good old times, when being a child was certainly a privilege. Life seemed easy and nothing was impossible.
Through the allusion to my own childhood experience, with this project, I aim to restore past memories and connect with familiar places and people.
This summer journey can be identified as an intimate and very personal way to perceive things. It is also a reflection of a reality that is sometimes hard to define.
Both Saba and I found ourselves in Zemo Naqalaqari in the spring due to the pandemic. I felt lucky to be in the middle of nature during this troubling time, an island of calm where a vast silence reigned most of the time.
Rather than spending time with my family members, however, I chose to spend the lazy afternoons with Saba. I was curious about things I could possibly learn and observe from this inquisitive little boy.
I met Saba, 5, a few years ago, and I have known his entire family for more than 15 years. Every summer I remember playing in his house when I was of his age. The family inherited the property long ago, and it was always full of residents in the summer.
This little boy was honest, kind, creative but also quite independent for his own age. Unlike many children his age, he is not talkative. Instead, he channels his energy into a constant search for adventure. I rarely recall the moments when we just sat and enjoyed the silence.
As Saba and I explored my old, familiar haunts and the people who played important roles in my own childhood, I started to remember things instead of just imagining what had been.My own memories are my recollection of early experiences and beliefs that used to be meaningful, but also something that I wanted to remember. Suddenly an interesting question pops up: Could those childhood memories be transmitted across space and time?