Kyrgyzstan Unfolding

15 images Created 14 Jul 2021

Kyrgyzstan Unfolding
(working title; ongoing)

Born and raised in the former Soviet Union, but living in Europe most of my life, I'm used to different situations, conversations, and people asking me a simple question, just like "Where are you originally from?".
But this question is not an easy one to me and mostly ends up with a long conversation about a widely unknown small country in Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan. My German parents and grandparents were already born in Kyrgyzstan, and I lived in Kyrgyzstan for nine years until we migrated to Germany in 1988.

But I am not from today's Kyrgyzstan. At that time, during my childhood, it was part of the Soviet Union. My early childhood memories are mostly memories of the time of a "Soviet child" in a country that no longer exists in this way. Today's Kyrgyzstan is an independent and the only democratic country in Central Asia.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and its following independence in 1991, there were significant political and social changes for the country and the whole region. The transition from the Soviet system to independence was not an easy one. The Kyrgyz nation went through challenging times of many years of socio-economic hardship that still endures today, especially in Kyrgyzstan's rural parts. Even in the Soviet Union, the mountainous country on the border with China was considered inferior; today, around one in ten residents work abroad.

"Kyrgyzstan Unfolding" is my personal view of a Post Soviet country. I can not stop seeing the dichotomy between past and present, between what still exists and what died. My travels throughout the country allow me to document daily life situations and simple moments of my personal experiences and encounters in a country that I still feel personally connected to. Each time I am visiting my childhood home, I discover new unseen moments and learn a lot.

Kyrgyzstan is the land where the descendants of many nomadic tribes have build their homes. They live in the deep valleys between high mountains. The Kyrgyz still say: horses are the wings of the people. Kyrgyzstan is a small peaceful country surrounded by high mountains. Between the hills where the poplars still grow is the place where my family's story started.
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