Eigensinn Publishing, 2023. Special Edition of 200 copies with crochet fabric on spine. Hardcover, open stitch binding, 176 pp., b/w and color illustrated, 150 x 210 mm. Photographs by Asli Oezcelik.
"The book „Sıhhatler Olsun“ is telling the story about my mother, who grew up in a small village in the northeast of Turkey and emigrated to Germany when she was 20 years old. It especially concentrates on her past life and offers a platform for the underrepresented story of the so called female guest worker."
"I started taking the first pictures for this project in March 2020, when my mother had to move out of our old apartment and stayed with me at my flat for about a month. It was quite an intense and challenging period for both of us, but we also got closer than ever and for me, it was a huge turning point in our relationship. Capturing her helped me to deal with the situation, especially with the feeling of being overloaded and it cheered us up as well. It allowed me to step back, take another perspective on things and perceive our emotions in a different way. Thanks to photography, we kind of built up something that belonged to us in a time when many things slipped out of our hands. We talked a lot about her home country, about her emigration and went through the family archive together. I tried to rebuild her life because I noticed that although I knew roughly how she felt about her past, I knew very little facts and details of when she had spend her time where and with whom. These details helped me to understand her present emotions better and apart from that, it was super interesting for me to be familiar with the woman my mother was when she was my age."
"I continued taking pictures of her in her new apartment, visiting and taking pictures of my paternal grandparents with whom we had lived very closely as well. Over all, I started to take the project more seriously, reading more books that address the immigration history of Germany and point out the view of the guestworkers in particular. I wanted to read about other womens experiences and stories and doing that, I found out that there are not that many books or films that address the experiences of the female guestworkers in comparison to men, which I found upsetting."
"At this time, my mother started to rebuild her life, she found a new job and set up a new home. "
"It was important for me to also travel to my mothers family in Istanbul and to her home country Damal and photograph her there. It had been 15 years since we last visited Damal and going there felt like the last step for the project to get to an end. Even though working on the project was super intense for me because I was also facing a topic that I had been repressing, I know that this work had to be done not only for my own personal growth but also because my mother is a woman who never got enough recognition for what she has done and I simply wanted her story to be seen."