September 25, 2022

Chelouche Gallery at Loop Barcelona 2022

Chelouche Gallery at Loop Barcelona 2022

It takes four nights and three days to travel from Uzbekistan to Russia by train. The railroad goes northwest through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia, crossing the changing landscape – from Uzbek cities and desert through the Kazakh steppe, to Russian forests.

In the winter of 1990, my family and I took that train, as we were emigrating from the Soviet Union. That ride was a culmination of months of anxious preparation to depart from our homeland without the right to come back. I remember some fragments from the beginning of that ride, but most of it is erased from my memory.

Recently, I returned to Uzbekistan to take that train ride once again, to trigger and perhaps restore the memory that I somehow suppressed.

On that train, it felt as if time has stopped in 1990. The decor of the rooms, the smells, and the sounds of the train were all the same. However, as I was riding that train, crossing the landscape of my childhood, it felt as if I’m pushing the lost memory even further into darkness. I decided to document the fragments that I do remember, as it has become increasingly important for me to understand the details of that journey in 1990, since I believe that somewhere there, in the labyrinth of my memory, I am still departing from my home and unable to arrive to a new one.

 

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