This project is about the continuous change experienced in the Balkans over the last few years. It’s about the complexity of the human condition during the region’s transition toward democracy. And it’s a personal view of the tension and the contradictions occurring there.
I began my journey from Istanbul in 2004. I decided to start from Turkey, to convey the influence of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. I continued in subsequent years in different cities and regions, from Albania to Bosnia, Bucharest, Croatia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Sofia, Serbia, Skopje, and Thessaloniki.
I call the project “Prolaz” (Passage) for several reasons: for my own, personal journey to know these places, for the history of these lands which lived under Turkish dominion, for the various conflicts of races and lands, for the entry or the hope of entry of these peoples into the European Community.
For many centuries, the Balkans have been a melting pot of different cultures, and often a focal point of poisonous hatred and devastating wars. Even today, their identity is rooted in a reminiscence of their difficult past.
This a land of unsure boundaries, where opposites both attract and repel each other. The last decade has violently changed the physical and psychological dimensions of these cities, against the background of a nationalist drama and an irreversible sense of having finally expressed their own essence. Nevertheless, there are vibrant feelings of hope and fear, stemming from the people’s conflicting sense of their cultural heritage.
Born in Palermo in 1965, Fabio Sgroi began his photographic career in 1986 and since that time has exhibited his work in Europe, America, and international festivals. He has participated in various projects and artistic residencies and today works for Riso, the Museum of Contemporary Art at Palermo.