the owl, the lion, and the dragon
How do you remember a city?
I spent the first half of 2018 in Budapest with the goal of exploring the complex cultures and histories of Central and Eastern Europe. With each new city I went to, I spent hours wandering the streets, photographing architectural details unique to that place. I collected thousands of images of whatever caught my eye, from cathedrals to graffiti, lamp posts to coffee cups. In each city, I started to notice patterns. In Zagreb, the owl appeared on top of state buildings and stenciled onto a street corner. In Ljubljana, the dragons on the Zmajski Bridge watch like sentinels over the city, and their delicate but strong bodies echo in the waves of the river and whimsy of the architecture. In Budapest, gateways and doorways are intricately designed, no two of them alike—and often, they are accompanied by watchful stone lions. Many of the cities in this exhibit seem mysterious to us in the United States. While tourism has exploded in Prague and is steadily on the rise in Budapest, cities like Pécs and Ljubljana remain unknown. As someone with Eastern European heritage, I wanted to learn more about these places and their vibrant cultures, divergent from those in Western Europe. Each collage is a conglomeration of the artwork and cultural idiosyncrasies I observed in each place, serving as my personal mementos of these cities. Spanning as west as Berlin and as east as Istanbul, they only scratch the surface of the lives and stories in each place.