Natives (Sonnenallee, 2012) 


Here, I know my way around. I feel free in both places because I speak German and I speak Turkish.
Once I understand a language and I can speak to people, I feel at home.

All my memories are here. My life is here. My family, my friends and my customers in the shop:
my life here is Arabic. Here on Sonnenallee I feel at home; I feel welcome.
I am in between worlds. I have spent a 100 times more of my life here and that’s why I see myself as a German.

I am half half. German because I was born here, and Arabic. My life is here, I grew up here and have adjusted myself.
Still, it’s a big thing as to whether I am a foreigner.

One can say I have two roots. My own roots are in Germany; my parents’ roots are in Turkey.
I used to wonder a lot where I belong. Today, I don’t care anymore. I belong where I live.

Series of five framed photographs, words engraved in glass, 19x24"

Natives (Sonnenallee, 2012) evolved from repeatedly walking and documenting the Berlin street and encountering people living and working there. Conversations started along the street and became a longer engagement with questions of belonging and multicultural identity.

Photographs of Sonnenallee convey a street of multiple cultures and realities. They are ruptured by portraits of young residents taken in Königsheide, a forest at the end of the street.
Having left behind the urban environment, the protagonists find themselves in a place associated with yearning and self-reflection. Associations of the forest as identity symbol, especially expressed in the Romantic Age, are set side by side with words that describe experiences of migration and home. Fragments of conversations were added as both a literal and physical layer to the photographic works.

Many thanks to Fatima, Yehya, Jad, Eda and Müjgan for sharing their time and stories with me.

Interview of Sonnenallee work (in german)  — Der Neuköllner 

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