New East Digital Archive

When the world is fragile and fragmented, when all you hear about are borders, divisions, and separations, one question rises above all others: how do we find unity in cultural diversity? The same question arises for anyone who has ever moved between countries. Immigration is often thought of as state of inbetweenness (that is, falling in-between two or more locations). I think of it more as finding balance between cultures.

Collage is a popular medium for communicating this feeling both among artists and photographers. Back in 2016, in an interview on The Calvert Journal, Yerevan-based artist Lucie Khahoutian described her first encounters with other cultures as a “form of collage”.

Our Photo of the Week, which comes from a fashion shoot created by an all-Balkan female team in Detroit, is also inspired by a meeting of cultures. The idea stemmed from fashion designer Dessislava Terzieva, who has also founded the clothing brand and multidisciplinary project *Paid Actor. She teamed up with photographer Prishtina Gjonaj and models Evona Ivezaj and Eliza Ivezaj, all hailing from Albania.

“I am a Bulgarian-American artist whose work is centred around identity, nostalgia, and the immigrant experience. [I’ve been] going back and forth between Sofia and Detroit ever since I was 8,” Terzieva recounts. “I am interested in exploring the clash of cultures and contradictory expectations that come with each of these ‘homes’. I do this through collage, both in editorials such as this and through embellishments on my garments.”

The fashion story revolves around two fictional sisters who live in the Balkans and dream of moving to the US. “We’ve cut out the photos of the models and placed them on landmarks around the US to show their journey of coming to the States.” Can you guess where they are in this image?

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