I was born in Albania and migrated to Greece when I was eleven. It was 1991, I remember the first lights across the border, and the happiness of moving toward the unknown. This slowly changed in the years that followed, living in a new city without legal documents. The first people I met faced their own struggles. But in my eyes, everything looked extraordinary. Sometimes, even selling bread-rolls in the street every morning before school seemed like a game. That kept me hoping and never losing trust. Migration has enough difficulties and darkness, but you learn to find beauty and light. That’s how I discovered photography.
I keep going back to the same places, where nobody ever stays. Places of survival, now the theatres of crisis, and also, my own first neighborhoods. When the refugees started coming, I saw fathers holding their children, it was like they were holding a part of me too. I see my father between the exhausted men, my mother in the long queues among the women. I see the children trying quietly to be of help, and also to play a bit on the side. In their silence, the eyes are full of voice. What these voices say, keeps reminding me of something along the way.
Whenever things were getting hard, my mind traveled back home. I imagined life there to be beautiful. I left as a child and returned as an adult. And once again, I felt lost. Albania had changed and so had I. We had grown apart from each other. Still, there was a thread. I was hungry to find what was kept alive inside me, but mostly, I was seeking the warmth. When you are an immigrant, you feel that nothing belongs to you. It tastes like you live in the air. That freedom is the only thing of your own.
What I show here is the two overlapping crises in the place I now call home, alongside my own quest of a homeland.