Hotel Motherland documents one of the final abandoned hotels in the spa town of Tskaltubo turned into communal living for refugees from the Georgia-Abkhazia wars.
Due to violent conflicts in 1992-93, 1998, and 2008, roughly 250,000 ethnic Georgians have become Internally Displaced Persons in the shifting landscape of the Caucasus states. They fled the spa-resort mountains of Abkhazia into Georgia, hoping to find home but instead remaining without official status or aid. Tskaltubo, a USSR-era spa town located in central Georgia, became a place of refuge to some, its once grand hotels abandoned in the wake of the Soviet collapse.
Now with a resurgence of the Georgian economy, Tskaltubo becomes a town under reconstruction. Hotels once home to Abkhazian communities are being bought up, gutted, knocked down. The refugees, displaced again, move on.
The photos here, taken inside one of these spa hotels, span multiple visits in 2018 and 2019. Most haunting were the discreet items—a flour sifter, a pitcher, a set of chairs—positioned exactly as in months previous. Sounds of life inside private bedrooms quietly penetrated the chalky halls, but the sense of hands touching ceramics or food or fabric felt ghostly.