©malina cailean

This is a portrait of my grandmother and a monumental sculpture of a communist lifestyle. This was the "glory' of the regime, and life scenes like this should have been installed in square markets, instead of bronze leaders with their fists in the air.

In those times the most banal gestures could become absurdly the hardest quests. You could see a queue forming in front of the store, people precipitated to stand in the row at the slightest rumor of hope, the rumor that "I heard they might be selling something". What, sometimes nobody new, but you had to get it because something is better than nothing. Be it chicken feet, shrimp chips, dry tofu or some other lowest quality of food a communist country partnered in the crime of exchanging.

Throughout those years my family managed to buy bananas once. They were green and came without "instructions". The whole family would stare at them, excited but disappointed at the same time. Not knowing to eat a banana was a great metaphor of the gap that was growing between the stagnating east and burgeoning globalization of the west.

Oranges were sold only a few times per year, and a limited number could be bought per person. If you received an orange for Christmas it was indeed a great gift. Comes December, anywhere I am in the world, I am reminded of those moments, when it happens that I pass the pile of citrus in a supermarket. And I always think about my grandmother who had the will of a stone to provide. She was the hero of those times.