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Bringing Back the Lost Memories

broken gravestone on the ground

This content was developed during the Online History Camp 2020 “Don’t Look Back in Anger! Coping with Painful Pasts”. This youth encounter brought together 18 participants from Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The event was an integral part of the project “History Competitions in Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine 2”

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There is only one photo from the family album of Marina Ablotia’s that her family safely managed to bring to Georgia on the way from Abkhazia during the war in 1992. That occasion symbolizes the lost house and the lost memories for Marina Ablotia’s daughter Lizi Mamulshvili. The following digital drawing was created by Lizi as an act of bringing back the lost memories left in the Abkhazian house 28 years ago.


Project Description

The historical event which affected my family was the war in Abkhazia (1992-1993). In 1993, due to the war, my mom and her family (my grandmother, grandfather, uncle, and great grandmother) were forced to leave Gali (a city in Abkhazia), where they had lived for a very long time. This fact made it hard for them to leave their past lives behind, their childhood memories, relatives, and friends. They had to start their lives from scratch in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people.
In September, 1993, when my mom and her family left Gali, my great-grandmother stayed there for a couple of days for personal reasons. Afterwards, she also fled from the city with the help of her neighbors.
The family moved to Guria (one of the regions in Georgia). Choosing this specific region made the process of adaptation for them a little bit easier because my grandmother was a native of Guria; so, finding a house to live in proved less difficult, as they started living with my grandmother’s family (in the house which she left when she got married).

Decription of the research and creative work

As a child, I have heard interesting stories about Abkhazia from my mom and other family members. I was interested in learning about this topic at school. Unfortunately, information about the war in Abkhazia in our textbooks was not sufficient, as it did not show the depth of this event and its effect on people. That is why during the Online History Camp, I tried to put together everything I knew about this conflict. I investigated my family memory, compared different narratives about this war, and interviewed my mom in order to show the perspective of the witness, and lastly, I decided to bring back the lost memories with the digital sketch drawing through an active and creative process of remembering the house and the material objects in it.

“Bringing back the lost memories” is an interactive image of the digitally drawn living room in the house in Abkhazia. The tags with the multimedia content focuses on the relation between (lost) memories, the house, and the photos from the family album which were lost on the way to Georgia.