Danijela Pruginic - No Man’s Land

This is a pretty personal project that I did over 10 years ago.  I was born in the former Yugoslavia and my family moved to Canada when I was 13 years old in order for me and my sister to have better opportunities in life.  We waited about 3 years for our visas to move to Canada with lots of uncertainty about whether it would even happen.  When we finally did get the visas and moved, about a month after moving to Canada, the 10 year war in Balkans erupted and I couldn't believe how closely we escaped living through a war.

I was heartbroken.  I lost both my grandfathers soon after the war started and we couldn't even go to the funerals.  I didn't understand how people that had supposedly lived so happily together under the communist regime, that sold us the illusion of a shared utopia, now were mortal enemies.  The war atrocities were horrendous and I felt completely cut off from my past.

16 years later I finally was able to go back and visit my old home town and the countryside where my parents grew up and where we spent many weekends together with family.  These images are from that trip.  It's taken me a long time to reconnect with my past so in some ways this project is ongoing.