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Mi Smo Doma

Mi Smo Doma (We Are Home) is an exploration of my family’s history and immigration journey from Croatia to Canada. I live in the home that my grandparents purchased over 40 years ago. It is here that they, and my mother, embarked on a journey of new beginnings, while never forgetting where they came from. Like many immigrant stories, my family’s starts with humble beginnings, arriving in Canada with half-empty suitcases and first settling down in an Ontario housing apartment, before finally owning their property. The transition was complicated, uncomfortable, and confusing, with none of this being sugar-coated throughout the series. However, it was these struggles that gave my family the successful life they had dreamed of in Canada. 


I have collected archival photos which document their beginnings in Croatia and their assimilation in Canada, as well as photographed recent images of my home and my family today. The series exists in a photobook, allowing each image to be in conversation with the next, lending itself beautifully to the idea of interconnectedness, lineage and history. Scans of handmade fabrics and the nošnje, which is the traditional folklore garment, adorn the pages of the book. They act as a motif in the series, visually representing tradition and how it is interwoven in our lives. The series speaks to the meaning of home, especially for the immigrant family. The title itself references this and has two meanings: We are home, pointing to the fact that it is the family who makes the home; we are home, acting as an answer to the question that many immigrants have, which is if they truly belong to the new country they have settled in. Relics, cultural objects and traditions are of the many things that exist in our home, which pay homage to our past and keep our culture rooted in our present.


The series is complex, in the sense that it spans over multiple decades, follows subjects as they age and grow, and touches on many aspects of life. However, there are common threads that ground it and tie each page together, that being the dedication to a dream, the appreciation of family, and the celebration of culture in all things.

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