Gyumri: 1988, 2019, 2020

‘Gyumri, 1988, 2019, 2020’ is a representation of Gyumri during my visits there. The 2019 and 2020 are the years of the two visits that I had to take these pictures, whilst 1988 is the year of the earthquake that still affects the community to this day.

In 1988 an earthquake killed thousands of people but displaced even more. Aid was sent over by many countries in shipping containers that later were taken by families and turned into temporary then permanent homes. Building on them over time was essential as families grew in size in the following thirty years after and now you will have three generations living under one roof. Even though they have running water and electricity, to live in these conditions is extremely tough with disease, rats and stray dogs being their reality.

 

This community is evidently still scarred, but during these two trips the hope, ambition and determination of these people is still clear. Even whilst visiting them they would still be so hospitable offering tea or snacks, despite having almost nothing. Talking to them they would be open and honest about their conditions, highlighting the struggles but also joys of how they live. Witnessing them and speaking to them made me so grateful for the privilege that I have whilst leaving me in awe of their strength. These photos are a reflection of the city, the people and their stories that have stayed with me.