Little Georgia

At first, I met Nino. Nino is my Georgian neighbor, in downtown Athens. Actually, “Nino” is a very common name in Georgia. I eventually met more Georgian women; i started photographing them, while I was hanging out with them and while our children were playing together.

Soon I realized that the Georgian community is considered to be one of the largest migrant communities in Greece. Also, the trend of migration from Georgia to Greece is a predominantly female phenomenon; Georgian women come to Greece to work mainly as domestic workers (cleaning, childcare, taking care of the old or sick) and often they face stigmatization, financial exploitation and illegalization.

I photographed some Georgian women in Athens, at their homes, on their days off, as they hang-out or celebrate. Finally, I got more and more familiar with their lifestyle, and their practices of mutual support and empowerment in their new home country.

The aim of this project is to challenge stereotypes and racial prejudices against Georgian women. Documenting a part of their lives is a small contribution to that cause.

Little Georgia is about an invisible migrant woman’s world.

(2014-on going)

 

Detail from a boarding house for Georgian women in Athens.

 
Anastasia on her day off.

Anastasia on her day off.

 

Boarding house in Athens.

 
 

It is very common for Georgian women who work as live-in domestic workers to share an apartment and stay there on their days off. That home is like no other. Usually, for six days it is totally empty and quiet, without someone living in. It gets alive only on Sundays. It is a weekly meeting point, a place of their own to stay and relax. It is a Sunday home.

 
 

Mariam on her day off at the boarding house in Athens.

 
Natela on her day off at the boarding house in Athens.

Natela on her day off at the boarding house in Athens.

 

Tamar at a friend’s house, during her three months visit in Athens. Nowdays, Georgian citizens can visit up to three months Greece and the E.U. without a visa, only for tourism or family reasons.

 

Nino lives in Athens with her daughter.

 

Liza, Nino’s daughter sitting on the balcony.

 

Manana at home in Athens. She also works as a domestic worker.

 

Katia playing at home in Athens. Katia learned the Greek language at school, while Katia’s mother, Manana, learned it at work.

 

Dining table, Katia’s home.

 
 

Usually older women or very young women or women whose children live in Georgia, work inside the employer’s house, as live-in domestic workers. Lali, as well as Manana, came to Greece with their family and need to seek out a domestic services job that allow them to take care of their family too. At first, Lali applied for asylum. She had to renew her asylum application in a “terrible place”, every six months. Only after five years in Greece she managed to get a residency permit.

 
 

Lali with her children at home in Athens.

 

Lali and a friend drinking at a Georgian restaurant in Athens.

 
 

From time to time, Georgian women organize a collective night out to Georgian restaurants. Especially on holidays. It is very important for them to all get together and to share their latest news, to update their network. Usually, there aren’t any men among them and the restaurants get crowded only by women who laugh, dance, drink.

 
 

Georgian women dancing at a Georgian restaurant in Athens.

 

At a Georgian restaurant during a party.

 

Birthday party at a Georgian restaurant in Athens.

 
 

Many Georgian mums spend their afternoons at Saint Paul’s yard, sitting on benches. Some of them are so sick of Saint Paul’s yard. “Saint Paul again, all the time Saint Paul!” But what can they do since “the children love it there”.

 
 

Saint Paul’s yard in Athens.

 

Spending Sunday morning.

 

Sofa with stuffed puppies, Lali’s home in Athens.

 

Liza playing.