Chernobyl dolls. Abandoned childhood.
My childhood memories - they are so vivid and ... alive. I close my eyes and see how one picture replaces another one. Here am I, five? years old girl. I see a snow-covered playground and how we (children) are licking icicles - I even remember that taste and coldness of ice in my mouth, I remember how the teacher disciplined me for the fact that I brought one of such "candy" into the kindergarten classroom, and it treacherously melted. Then another picture – it is summer, I'm sitting in the sandbox, dolls and pups are around me - we have a celebration, birthday of my favorite doll Luba - I am cooking sand pies and cakes, and being a lovely host to everyone. My dolls ... Do I need to say who they were for me - my little friends, my students, my buddies, my children, even my beloved ones (my only one doll-boy Anton - I was in love with him and sincerely believed that he would become alive someday. I fed them, I sang lullabies before putting them to bad, I bathed them gently, I disciplined them when they behaved badly ... I loved them SO much.
Another vivid memory of mine is April of 27th, 1986, the evacuation day, and long line of buses near our house. I remember my mixed feelings clearly as it was yesterday - the joy of having a marvelous trip, and disappointment that my parents were not allowed me to take my dolls on the road trip - "You can`t take them! We'll be back in three days! They will wait for you, they will not go anywhere!
Only thirty years later I got the chance to return to city of my childhood, Pripyat.
The scenery that I found there was quiet different from what I have in my memory. Houses are empty, weather, time and absence of necessary care did its job and many have already collapsed. In the classrooms of kindergarten, which we've attended back in those days with my younger brother, I found them…dolls. They have changed a lot! It was hard and painful for me to look at them.
Those dolls! They have become an aftersound, a stop-frame of my memory from that happy childhood, which has remained forever back in that other past life, inseparably together with my home town.
This project is a remembrance of my childhood and the childhood of those children who lived in town of Pripyat.