The Greek Civil War is marked by some as the beginning of the Cold War. It was a conflict between the communists and monarchists in Greece, which resolved in significant damages to the environment and displacements of many individuals. Until now, the aftermath of the civil war remains rooted in some of the country’s landscapes and communities.
Due to the conflict, thousands of families were separated from each other and their homeland. Communists sent many children aged three to fourteen to countries in Eastern Europe and Queen Frederica alongside with the royal family had formed camps around Greece, where other young children from different villages were placed. They became isolated from their families and homes, and once the war was over, some children were never repatriated to their native environments.
Where the Wildflowers Grow portrays a land, in which the past continues to play a significant role in shaping its current state and atmosphere. This place is also the birthplace of a part of my family, which was forced to leave their home in a mountainous area of northern Greece, and never returned. My grandmother was taken to former Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1948 and other family members became scattered around the world. Many voluntary and forced migrations took place from the site throughout and after the conflict, slowly causing the present-day village to be almost uninhabited. Some official sources state that the village is inhabited by less than 100 individuals but the locals told me that the number must be even lower, with probably around 50-60 residents still living there. The site has large diaspora communities in the US, Canada, Eastern Europe or the Republic of North Macedonia – as that is where many people migrated to from the location during or after the Greek Civil War.
The work is a journey through my family’s homeland, documenting a landscape that was very much affected by the Greek Civil War in the past – it is said that the regions of Macedonia, Epirus and Thrace were the epicentre of the conflict. Delving into the history of the environment, showing the remnants of migrations and past conflicts, the project captures the complexity behind the notion of home.
See more of Michaela’s work Here.