Garcías Tochter

Artist Blog by Alina Simmelbauer

East Germany, the communist country officially known as the German Democratic Republic, fell in 1989. In 1963 the GDR signed its first guest worker contract with Poland. The program developed, enticing people from the Eastern Bloc and also from Vietnam, Mozambique, and Cuba. Hundreds of thousands ofmigrant workers studied or worked from 1962 to 1990 in the GDR, the socialist sister state. Under the control of state power, it was ensured that the contracts were implemented and, above all, observed. When their work contract expired after 4 years, they were sent back to their home countries. This separated friendships, relationships, and families. For many, there is something besides their own work history that connects them today with Germany: their children. I am the daughter of a former contract worker who had stayed in the GDR in the early 1980s. However, I first met him only in 2011 in Cuba. Since then I have been searching for people whose family histories resemble mine. In this search I met many children who grew up behind a veil of secrecy; without fathers or knowledge about their remaining.

In the photographic work ‚Garcia’s Tochter‘ (‚García’s daughter‘), I amfollowing my own search for my father through the process of artistic exploration. In addition to the images of my search in a foreign country, I’m combining portraits of today's adult children with personal memorabilia and picking up images from company and city archives to illustrate how abstract political decisions of the former GDR have had a lasting impact on the fates of thousands of young people and their families to the present day.

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