Hand In Hand
Archival Inkjet Prints
36x24 inches

Hand In Hand is a multi-layered work exploring my ancestors and how our stories are connected. This exhibition is a personal investigation of transformation through migration. It delves into how my ancestors’ immigration has created a cycle of repetition in the family story through family archives, found images, and cyanotype prints. As an immigrant who migrated from Turkey to the United States in 2018, I naturally started to pay more attention to the meaning of being an immigrant and to the cycle of immigration, which was not acknowledged a lot in our family. My great-grandparents migrated to Turkey from Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1910s. Although I have some information about these experiences, the stories still have gaps. Investigating my family's experiences helps make sense of my identity: how migration has shaped my life decisions.

I create a personal history record by imagining the past stories with the present and filling in the blanks through my spiritual perspective to achieve a sense of completeness. Combining family portraits with cyanotype prints produced from found slides showing microscopic views of human body parts (such as blood cells, nerve cells, and uterus), I propose that we embody the experience of our ancestors, whether we know their stories or not. The found street photos show the city of Sarajevo, where my ancestors are from. Erasing the people on the streets with rough gestures and turning the images into black and white, I depict the feeling of the aftermath of a city where a lot of their locals left and immigrated. During the time my family immigrated, approximately 3.5 million Bosnian Muslims left either for Turkey or the United States.