2021 — ongoing
A tale of the relationship between people, trees, and insects, bound together by the same habitat, trying to fix the irreparable and restore what seems impossible to restore.
Several times a year I visit my mother in Abkhazia. Once, on my next visit, I heard the news about the efforts of scientists saving boxwoods and chestnuts. From that moment began my journey of discovering the many relationships between plants, people and insects. As I searched for answers, I sought out people, and they revealed to me places hidden from the gaze of the outside observer. This mystery of manifesting pictures fascinated and stirred my interest. Like a magic tangle, the theme of saving trees led me along.
Between 2012 and 2016, relict boxwood groves in the Colchis Lowlands died, and along with them other trees — chestnuts, walnuts, and garden crops — were affected. The cause of the ecological disaster was the spread of new insect species. The invasion affected the ecology and life of local rural communities. In 2021, on the basis of the Institute of Ecology of Abkhazia, with the support of the UN, a laboratory was created, whose task is to save the trees.
The scene is mesmerizing in its dramatic entanglements. Abkhazia remains a territory of unresolved conflict, the Georgian-Abkhazian war ended here in 1993, its traces can be seen everywhere. Post-Soviet space and all-consuming wilderness, antiquity and traditional ways, the joy of life, memory and trauma of war — on this lush soil a new history is sprouting. The relationship between people, trees and insects revealed itself to me as a narrative of severed ties, of attempts to mend the irreparable, to restore what seems impossible to restore.