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Festiwal Fotografii w Ramach Sopotu

September 02,2022 - September 18,2022

September 2, 2022 September 18, 2022

The term phenomenon in the most general and colloquial terms means something unique, peculiar, admirable, or even magical. It may also describe something that is subject to cognition and perception, an observable object or event, an object of possible experience which also helps to understand the reality around us.

Artists who use the medium of photography often use this element and mode of observation, assuming the possibility of not so much seeing the image in itself, but of experiencing the world, events and things through this image. Photography itself appears as a phenomenon, one of the most potent multi-sensory methods of questioning our empirical capacity to investigate and navigate the surrounding environment.

This year’s edition of the Sopot Festival of Photography (Festiwal w Ramach Sopotu), as in previous years, will feature the projects of three artists who have participated in the photography residency program, already a hallmark of the event, implementing their projects in Sopot. They are bound by virtually no substantive or formal restrictions and have complete freedom in the choice of subject and method of its execution. However, their working methods and approach to interpreting the topics of their choosing share many features associated with the theme of phenomenon. They express the need for a new view of the world, for a new perspective that would be different from the one they adopted before. They seek a new vision of the world so that they can interpret it more accurately.

This year we invited to the residency program three artists. They are: Igor Pisuk, who, thanks to the scenery and atmosphere of the place, returned with memories to his childhood years. Tomasz Kawecki, who was fascinated by the subject of Kashubian demonology, exploring how it intermingles with culture and traditions. Søren Lilholt, an artist from Denmark, who, using the philosophy of phenomenology, explored the subjective impact of the medium of photography on his observations and adaptability in a new, unfamiliar space.

This year’s Festival will also feature an exceptional number of phenomenal premiere exhibitions, previously not shown to a wider audience. The following artists will hold their solo exhibitions: Kacper Kowalski with his project “Event Horizon,” Hubert Humka with an exhibition titled “Divine” and Patryk Bulhak, who will visit Sopot with a series of photographs entitled “Abandoned Daughters of the Tiger.” Another solo exhibition, curated by Adam Mazur, will be held by Agnieszka Sejud and one more by an artist under the pseudonym Eva Yarrow.

As part of the promotion of young talents, we will present a post-workshop show of students of the Film School in Łódź / PWSFTviT, as well as a collective exhibition of the most interesting photographs by students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.

The eighth edition of Festiwal w Ramach Sopotu includes international guests; this time we invited artists from Denmark as part of the Baltic cooperation: the aforementioned Søren Lilholt, participant in the residency program and the outstanding photographer Trine Søndergaard, who will hold a review exhibition. Another element of the Festival is a collective show Soil Studies, curated by Beate Cegielska at Galeri Image Aarhus.

Maja Kaszkur

RESIDENTS ‘EXHIBITION Tomasz Kawecki, Igor Pisuk, Soren Lilholt

curator: Maja Kaszkur


Tomasz Kawecki has long been fascinated by the influence of the medium of photography on the perception of paranormal phenomena and the way the veracity and factuality of such events are created and proven through it. The paradox of this need for authentication through photography is that the medium itself was considered magical when it was invented.

The photography residency program gave the artist the chance to visit and explore several places where beliefs, traditions and cultures, historically bound to the area, are a mixture of from paganism, Goth culture, Kashubian demonology, and Christianity. These places have become sources for creating alternatives for spiritual development, the formation of communities and the development of rituals. Today the stone circles in Węsiory, Odry and Grzybnica are locations where, according to one of the protagonists of the series, Guru Gienek, one can absorb cosmic energy. In order to achieve this, the guru invented rituals, amulets and objects to gather around himself people intent on an inner transformation or renewal among the stone structures that have existed here for centuries. Human spirituality finds an outlet here in endowing things and phenomena with symbolism. Objects that are elsewhere regarded as ordinary and worthless, become here vehicles of human ideas and magical objects, representing the need to find meaning. The context and ritualization of the use of objects lends them gravity, materiality and phenomenal value. Still, in fact, the very essence of things remains unchanged.

Tomasz Kawecki (b. in 1993) is a visual artist. He studies at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava. A former student at the Faculty of Architecture at the Krakow University of Technology. Co-founder of NAGA Gallery. In 2021 he won e.g. the Month of Photography in Krakow section of ShowOFF (PL), LensCulture Art Photography Awards (US) and Grand Prix IMA next (JPN). In 2021, his work was displayed at home and abroad at the 6th Art Biennale in Piotrków Trybunalski (PL), Krakow Art Week (PL), Warsaw Gallery Weekend (PL), OFF Bratislava (SK), Festival of Photography in Rybnik (PL), and Photo Vogue Festival (IT). His photographs have been published in, among others: China Life Magazine, Kwartalnik Przekrój, Miesięcznik Kraków, Vogue IT, Vogue PL, Abridged Magazine, and The Guardian. He is interested in the anthropology of things in terms of the people-objects relation. He draws inspiration for his works from various manifestations of nature’s peculiarities.


In my childhood, ever since I can remember, attempts were made to temper my character. “You mustn’t do this, don’t do that, behave this way and that way.” Even trips to the seaside with my grandparents were opportunities to assign to me ever more tasks and to control me. The time spent on the beach offered rare moments of freedom. I escaped from my grandparents and especially my grandmother was in panic; my sister and I tried to salvage what was still left of our shared world. We sheltered ourselves in a world of joint games and fantasies. Perhaps it was because of these memories that I would not go to the seaside for many years.

Igor Pisuk

Igor Pisuk

Igor Pisuk treats photography very personally, as a tool for delving into his own inner self. His photos capture the difficult moment of transition from youth to adulthood and the fear of the future. In Don’t Go Near the Water, one can see the barrier separating a person from the transition to infinity, from the plunge into the abyss that is the future. Future is unknown, mysterious and moving. On the beach we learn that time does not really exist. The indeterminacy and openness of space creates unlimited possibilities. Childhood memories are combined with anxiety about the future, including the future of the planet (Don’t go near the water is the title of a 1971 Beach Boys song about the pollution of the ocean). However, they are also an attempt to bridge the gap between the present and past selves and connect these two extremely different beings.

Agata Pyzik

Igor Pisuk (b. 1984 ) in 2014 he got an MA from the PWSFTviT Film School in Łódź. Between 2016 and 2017 an assistant to Anders Petersersen. A recipient of multiple awards and grants, e.g. AIR Independent – a scholarship and residency and attendance of masterclasses led by Antoine D’Agata, Jacob Aue Sobol, Trine Søndergaard, Gomma Photography Grant. A finalist of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. He has participated in over 30 group and solo shows around the globe, e.g. the Chobi Mela IX International Festival of Photography in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Les Recontres de la Photographie in Arles, France, and Cortona On The Move in Italy. An author of two photo books: Deceitful Reverence published by Blow Up Press and Dog Walker published by 3 PR zine.


“Philosophy is really homesickness: the urge to be at home everywhere.”


The starting point of Søren Lilholt’s project is to treat the medium of photography as a philosophical process that enables the observation and experience of reality.

enabling emotional adaptation in the unknown space in which it is located. Inspired by the philosophy of phenomenology, he decided to use a image to name the feeling of homesickness that he expected when setting off to a yet place he did not know and had not traveled for a long time.

Phenomenology is a method of studying and learning about the world that takes into account the personal subjective feelings of the observer, e.g. irrational, subjective sense of time or fear and treating each experience as basic and true. This philosophical direction postulates a kind of thinking about reality consisting in abandoning theoretical and conceptual speculations, abandoning expectations while focusing attention on the direct experience of occurrences and things. This method allows the artist to find a sense of “home”, a familiar, safe and understandable physical and mental space, using the medium of photography as a tool of cognition.

The paradox of photography in this case is the fact that it is very close to how we explore the world with our own senses, often evoking synesthetic impressions, and at the same time being one of the strongest methods of questioning our empirical ability to study and orient ourselves in the reality around us.

Søren’s exhibition is a collection of these pictorial impressions, which have been combined with historical photographs of the place, thus giving the project a melancholic and nostalgic character.

The project includes archival photographs from the collections of the Museum of Sopot.

SØREN LILHOLT (b.1986) is a Danish artist living and working in Copenhagen. He has studied at Fatamorgana, The Danish School of Art Photography and holds a MA in Visual Culture from The University of Copenhagen. Attracted to the seemingly incomprehensible and the subtle ability of photography to alter the perception of things, his artistic practice is deeply rooted in a phenomenological approach to photography and visuality – a process that aims at delving deep into a perceptual openness towards the world. He has been selected as an artist for the 3rd and 4th Cycle of The Parallel Photo Platform and his work has been exhibited at numerous locations both domestic and abroad including The Copenhagen Photo Festival (DK), Landskrona Foto (SE), Fotofestiwal (PL) and at Fotografisk Center in Copenhagen (DK).  


kuratorka: Maja Kaszkur 

The term “event horizon” is the boundary marking the limits of a black hole or a tunnel of spacetime that separates observers from events, of which the former will never receive any information. In other words, it is a boundary within spacetime, upon the crossing of which the speed of any object or wave exceeds the speed of light in a vacuum. No object, not even light emitted from within, from behind the horizon, can leave this area. All that permeates the event horizon from the side of the observer disappears. It is the last shadow before pitch darkness which absorbs all the light. Event horizon is an arbitrary, if not metaphorical boundary.

“Event Horizon” is an intimate project. Kacper Kowalski’s photographs have long ceased to be an aesthetic stock-taking of nature. In the artist’s relation with his surroundings, the landscape has become a sort of medium, a tool depicting emotions, an image emanating inscapes and feelings, while the flight itself is a form of trance. The author hands over the reins to instinct, which leads to surprising, unexpected if not mystical experiences, triggering unexpected reflections and interpretations.

Kowalski tries to understand his own perception of the world, unwittingly incorporating archetypes into his modes of observation. They are aligned with the landscape at a personal, intimate frequency. He not only sees images, but feels through them, observes nature in terms of photography, not knowing where it will take him, what emotions it will evoke and what it will reveal in his subconscious self.

Kacper Kowalski (b. 1977, Poland) is an architect and pilot, but he decided to commit to flying and photography – his true passion. As a paraglider, a pilot of foot-launched glider aircraft, Kacper would fly into the air with an engine strapped to his back to discover the world of forms, shapes, and patterns. Constantly fighting with the natural forces: wind and air currents, when he photographs from 150 above the ground level, he finds himself in an almost meditative state, when the nature and surroundings reveal to him not only abstract forms, but also seem to communicate with him with the language of symbols that appear on his photographs. The flight becomes a spiritual journey that reveals universal truths about the relationship between man and nature, about the past and the present, and about one’s own personal truth and the way to get there.

In 2021, Kacper celebrated the 25th anniversary since his first solo paragliding flight. It means he has spent over 5,000 hours alone in the air, travelling over 250,000 km through the sky. It is like being launched into space and almost being on the moon. He flew over the Dalai Lama’s house in India, and made dozens of emergency landings on rooftops, trees and swamps and had many adventures.

His first book, Side Effects, was published in 2014, and the second – OVER – was self-published in 2017 and the third Arche in 2021. His photos have been awarded three times in the World Press Photo contest and have won dozens of other awards, including POYi five times. His projects have been exhibited several hundred times in group and solo exhibitions all over the world. He is represented by galleries: Bildhalle in Amsterdam and Zurich, and Atlas Gallery in London. His documentary photos are available for editorial usage by Panos Pictures agency. Kacper lives and works in Gdynia, Poland.


kuratorka: Maja Kaszkur

Huberta Humka’s project reflects on the essence of the divine element, on whether there is a rational or metaphoric potential of defining this phenomenon. It is a recurring individual and non-objective question about the nature of the divine, how it reveals itself in the world and how we perceive it. Employing cultural and historical references, it addresses the formation of the image of God in consciousness in emotional and spiritual terms, as well as the need to seek its manifestation in reality. Can the essence of the divine be treated as a personification of the forces of nature or do we seek its presence only on the intellectual level?

At the exhibition, the artist’s theistic and philosophical reflection is expressed via seven very diverse intermedial forms. Still, the project is bound to remain unfinished as it would be utter arrogance to authoritatively claim that these are all the answers, especially that we are not sure that they are recognizable to us. Hubert Humka’s Divine is a journey and an invitation to the fathoming of the question of divinity at the metaphysical and existential level and to coming to terms with one’s concerns.

A few years ago, a series of studies were conducted on the perception of God in different cultures. It was noted that, unconsciously, we cannot help but imagine deified versions of ourselves. We impart to the image of God perfect if still human qualities, even personality and needs. The question about the essence of divinity is a psychological imperative; we feel compelled to know what God is like. Having no other references, we attribute our own features to the divinity. In his project, the artist addresses precisely this aspect of constructing an image of God. However, using the language of art, he can make his considerations more abstract in tone, and thus open up room for multiple interpretations, pointing out far from obvious directions for contemplation.

Hubert Humka – a photographer, visual artist, a graduate of the Film School in Łódź, where he currently teaches in the Department of Photography. In his work, he focuses on humans, reaching out to their nature and touching on human death, love, evil, and divinity. He portrays humans in a non-obvious way, through the prism of landscape, crime scene photography or, as recently, natural cemeteries. He has shown his projects in exhibitions in Poland and abroad, including: at the Contemporary Museum Wrocław, Leica Gallery Warsaw, Maison de la Photographie Lille, Claude Samuel Paris and at international photography festivals, including: Les Rencontres d’Arles (France), Transphotographiques (France), Fotofestiwal Łódź. Finalist of the Prix Voise Off Selection at the Les Rencontres d’Arles Off Festival (France) and the Photo Diploma Award (Poland). Author of books awarded in multiple competitions: Evil Man (Łódź Film School Press, Łódź 2015) and Death Landscapes (BLOW UP PRESS, Warszawa, 2018), nominated to e.g. Prix Bob Calle du livre d’artiste (France, 2019). Curator of many domestic and international exhibitions of students of the Film School in Łódź.

Hubert Humka


kurator: Maja Kaszkur

Sri Lanka is thought of as a tourist paradise, but when you move away from the hotels and beaches, a brutal ethnic and religious conflict between the Sinhalese and the Tamils has been smouldering on the island for over two decades.

This fratricidal war has made Sri Lanka a country marked by blood and suffering; its authorities try to keep the country’s history hidden. A war that remains unsettled, without attracting any media coverage whatsoever, not spoken about, ignored by the international community and by the disinterested powers who have failed to react to genocide. This war that has left a nation wounded, has divided families and has mutilated a population.

In the 1990s, members of the rebel group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), now considered a terrorist organisation, demanded the creation of an independent Tamil Eelam, a state in the northern part of Sri Lanka. This sparked off a civil war lasting many years. When mass genocide killed most of the fighters on the battlefields, young, brave, idealistic women joined the army. They fought for their freedom, dignity and rights. Now they are haunted by the past, trying to face the difficulties of everyday life. In 2009, the rebellion was suppressed and the Sri Lankan authorities took control of the areas that the Tamils considered their own state. The women who survived the hell of the war have now found themselves in a new and equally complicated reality. They live, stigmatized and socially excluded in their own country. They look back melancholically, surrounded by visible scars of their history and the memories of their youth. The ruins of houses, overgrown by trees, tall grasses and the swept surface of water are all reflections of the past.

Abandoned Daughters of the Tiger is the story of the Tamils, the warriors, whether fighting on the battlefield or off it – rejected, pushed to the margins by the state and the system. They are women who were not given the opportunity to experience their youth, now left marked by the stigma of conflict, overlooked, unwanted and uncomfortable, still living in fear and left to deal with the trauma themselves. These are women who continue to fight for their right to exist with dignity, to understand and to live better lives for their children. This is the story of female Tigers, women of war, now haunted by their lingering memories.

Patryk Bułhak (born 1977) – photographer and traveller, based in Warsaw. Having worked as a DJ and promoter in Poland and abroad, he discovered an interest and a talent in photography. He decided to pursue this professionally and quickly graduated from the Academy of Photography in Warsaw. In his photographic projects, he mainly focuses on the human attitude towards complex socio-cultural transformation in various parts of the world, while showing how the weight of history in these regions has an impact on shaping contemporary interpersonal relations. He often dedicates his time and attention to the situation of women, in the context of human rights in particular. In 2016, he was awarded at the DEBUTS competition organised by doc! photomagazine. Photographs from the winning series Closed were exhibited at the DEBUTS group shows. There were also several solo shows, including at Luisa Catucci Gallery in Berlin, 6×7 Leica Gallery Warsaw, Pop-Up Ogrodowa 8 Gallery in Łódź, Ratusz Gallery in Zamość, Centre for Culture in Lublin, and most recently at the Farbiarnia Gallery in Bydgoszcz.

DANISH YEAR under the honorary patronage of the Ambassador of Denmark to Poland 

TRINE SØNDERGAARD | Spaces & Portraits

Courtesy of the artist and Martin AsbækGallery + logo

Curator: Maja Kaszkur

Trine Søndergaard’s retrospective exhibition consists of two separate series of photographs that the artist continued and developed over many years. The first, the project “Hovedtøj”, is a series of portraits of young girls who, while wearing their own contemporary clothes, at the same time put on historical headgear made in the 19th and early 20th centuries by women for women.

These historical fabrics function in the project as traces of a bygone era, a heritage of women who shaped their own community, so rich in expression, but now almost forgotten. The portraits are not personal in their meaning, but more universal, and the photographs do not focus on depicting the details of the outfit. Their essence is what cannot be found in clothes themselves, and what is associated with the female world of experiences. It is like a meeting in the course of two generations of women with very different ordeal and stories. With this procedure, the artist connects, but also confronts the past with the present, giving the images a timeless character.

Silence, sensitivity and restraint are expressive features that permeate all of Trine Søndergaard’s work. In the second series of the exhibition – “Interior” – the artist presents empty, desolated spaces, suggestive photographs of historic silent mansions and rooms. The chambers seem bare, revealing what is usually hidden behind furniture and other objects. The images create a poetic experience of space, suggesting existential anxieties such as abandonment, loneliness, sadness and reflection and nostalgia.

Trine Søndergaard

Trine Søndergaard is one of the most well-known and characteristic Danish artists who use the medium of photography. She studied drawing and painting in Aalborg and Copenhagen, and later attended Fatamorgana – School of Art Photography in Copenhagen.

Her projects are characterised by precision and attention to sublime details and sensitivity, as well as a documentary style enhanced by a poetic narrative.

The main theme of the photographer’s work is vision and gaze. She uses austere visual poetics in which the motifs and phrases from her earlier works become a reference. It takes place in the spirit of a certain game, but also contemplation, in a balance between spontaneity and precision, plan and randomness. The works are characterised by accumulating more and more meanings and silent emotions, often revolving around personal and universal existential questions. It is a kind of visual study of what it means to be human, and while the source of the image is often in personal experiences and visions, it also includes a general exploration of more general phenomena related to historical, cultural and gender issues.

Søndergaard’s works have been presented at many international collective and individual exhibitions, most recently at the Royal Danish Library, Gammel Holtegaard and the Gothenburg Art Museum. It is represented in the largest public and private collections around the world. The artist has carried out public contracts for both museums and cultural institutions.

SOIL STUDIES | New Danish Photography of Nature

“Soil Studies – New Danish Photography of Nature” is an exhibition about “soil” as concrete, physical material, and as the cultural basis of belonging and identity. The exhibition brings together the works of five Danish art photographers. With a primary focus on Denmark, the works in the exhibition also reach beyond and into the Greenlandic and Icelandic landscapes: rock, sea, botany and the human body meet in very experimental and spatial works.

The artists of the exhibition each have their own approach in working with the theme but they share an interest in using the image-creating process itself as a source of knowledge and to express personal experience, and they testify to both cultural, scientific and emotional meanings of the earth beneath our feet. The artists are Lotte Fløe Christensen, Ditte Knus Tønnesen, Inuuteq Storch, Veronika Geiger, and Kirstine Autzen.

Co-curated by Beate Cegielska, director at Galleri Image, Denmark and artist Kirstine Autzen. Supported by the Danish Art Foundation.

Lotte Fløe Christensen "Soil Studies"
Lotte Fløe Christensen “Soil Studies”


Curator: Adam Mazur

​​Agnieszka Sejud is an outstanding artist of the young generation. She performs, publishes, organises, and works in collectives. Sejud is primarily active in photography, where she has already been highly successful, both domestically and abroad. Her awards, exhibitions, publications, and prizes are a testament to the style she has developed. Sejud combines a trashy aesthetic with queer finesse and uncompromising authenticity. Sejud’s photography is psychedelic, performative, engaged, but with no loss of humour, distance from oneself and socially vital subjects. The exhibition at the Sphinx700 Club consists of previously unshown photos from a session for the Lindner Calendar. The manufacturer of coffins from Gniezno gave the artist much elbow room, which Sejud eagerly took advantage of by inviting a group of female colleagues to the set. The photographic performance among the coffins is full of emotional gestures, seductive glances, and alluring if non-normative female bodies. This unconventional commercial assignment is viewed as an opportunity to bring new colours and forms to the mainstream. Agnieszka Sejud does not laugh on set, though the whole photo shoot can pass for gallows humour, a big laugh on the passing time, the format of a wall calendar, or a festival show at a legendary club. You can laugh at your heart’s content, because you’re all going to die soon anyway, one of the girls seems to be saying; it is the one without a leg, lying in a coffin and looking arrogantly into the lens. Perhaps death is no big deal after all?

Agnieszka Sejud is a visual artist living and working in Poland, a graduate of photography at the Silesian University in Opava, Czech Republic, with a master’s degree in law. In her practice, she mainly uses photography, digital and analogue collage, creates books and zines, video works and installations. Sejud uses a variety of media to explore the components of her identity, the idea of individual freedom, and the systems of oppression that limit our independence. She often uses image deformation and deconstruction to achieve her goals, mixing fiction with reality. Her works are often performative and political in nature, balancing between the artificial and the natural. Laureate and finalist of many competitions, incl. Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Award, Kassel Dummy Award, Photographic Publication of the Year, New East Photo Prize. She has shown her works in Poland and abroad, at exhibitions in New York, Paris, Berlin, Odessa, Athens and many other places.

Agnieszka Sejud


Curator: Paweł Klein

The Eva Yarrow’s project includes portraits and stories of female participants of peaceful actions that spontaneously evolved in August 2020 as a reaction to the rigged presidential election and the manifestation of unprecedented violence by the official Belarusian authorities. Among main markers there were white clothes and flowers symbolically indicating the women’s position; having no weapons, they only wanted peace and justice. It was a time full of hopes for quick changes for the better.

Less than a year later, the authorities unleashed large-scale methodical repressions of the dissenters. Thousands of criminal cases were started, almost all the independent media and NGOs got closed down, and the opponents of the self-proclaimed president were forced to flee the country. The symbols of the protests (the white-red-white flag and the historical Belarusian coat of arms) were recognized as extremist, and people risked their freedom for the photos once taken during the marches and then posted on social networks and in the media – using AI face recognition technology, the police were meticulously tracking down their participants.

Classical photojournalism became a crime in Belarus, and I had to look for new visual methods to speak about the events unfolding in my country. I turned the kids’ room into a photography studio and started shooting “mugshots” of my project participants. After printing the images, I suggested the women using dried flowers as an addition to their portraits: they could choose both the type of the plant and the degree to which they would like to leave their faces visible and thus recognized – depending on how much they feared a possible arrest for expressing their civic position at the time of our meeting. Thus, transformation became one of the key ideas of the project: for several months of peaceful confrontation, not only the seasons and types of flowers the protesters were holding changed, but also the protesters themselves. Someone went through imprisonment, others had to flee the country or rethink the very concept of fear and safety.


Art mentor: Hubert Humka


topos. the space we saw before we were within it. topos. a shared space of different gazes.

topos. looped archetype.

topos. reflection of Sopot.

topos. to be re-examined.

We met in one place, which turned out to be a mirror. We confronted images with space (here), time (now), and another person (ourselves). We perceive the speed of the world, which, despite its repetitiveness, constantly needs to be commented on. Our gazes are infinite attempts to capture what we see.

Sopot was the starting point, a setting, an inspiration, and a matter to be processed. We tell stories about places, people and what we imagine.

Artists: Maciek Bernaś, Michalina Kacperak, Julia Klewaniec, Grzegorz Piotrowski, Aleksandra Skowrońska


Art mentor: Małgorzata Popinigis


The exhibition showcases a variety of projects deconstructing reality, in which the boundary between the real and the imaginary becomes very fluid. 

Lucid Dream is a review of creative attitudes within the students’ community of Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk inspired by a variety of sources, from classical academic photographic practice to post-internet aesthetics. Their common denominator is an exploration of the visible and the meanings attributed to it.

The exhibition contains works originating in a traditional understanding of photography as an objective record of reality (Miłosz Piekarski’s Night Crawler), those that grapple with the definition of the medium via the technologies used (Grzegorz Sosiński’s Ornaments of Absence) and those boldly adopting post-photographic practice (computer-generated Still Life? by Katarzyna Serkowska). 

Furthermore, the exhibition is a showcase of the photography studios operating at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. Their programs combine, apart from learning the fundamental photography concepts and practices, a thorough analysis of reality and skilful communication of one’s own perception of the world. 

The work on display was prepared under the supervision of Prof. Grzegorz Klaman, Prof. Leszek Krutulski, Prof. Zbigniew Treppa, Dr Agnieszka Babińska, Dr Magdalena Czajka-Cardoso, Lucyna Kolendo, and Małgorzata Popinigis.

Artists: Katarzyna Serkowska, Grzegorz Sosiński, Aleksandra Molenda, Miłosz Piekarski, Aleksandra Żuk, Kacper Strzyżewski, Anna Capek, Aleksandra Makowska, and Monika Dramalievia, Jakub Szlaszyński.


Artistic supervision: Tomek Maryks, Paweł Klein


Most of my life I thought that nothing that happened in politics and public life is of any concern to me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I Am Poland is a manifestation of this. Earlier I was a person who did not actively participate in this struggle, but one pandemic afternoon something snapped inside me and I told myself “Enough is enough.” That’s when I made my first photo.

Each of the photographs on display tells a different history, or rather herstory, reflecting at the same time a different social problem. We are observing a political treatise on topics that should not be subject to systemic discussion, because they are personal issues such as human rights. They are independent and therefore exist outside of government and should not be arbitrarily regulated by it. Increasingly, women’s roles must conform to an imposed value system. The unconventional portrayal of female protagonists is intended to highlight the fact that dissenting beliefs are controversial. The result is a schism in society and an absurd state of affairs in which people are deprived of all freedoms of existence, step by step, legally or otherwise. This project is also an attempt to find and understand one’s national identity. At birth, we are implanted with a national affiliation. We have no choice in this regard. Wanting to find the element of Polishness in myself, I began to ask myself many questions. Among others, what does it mean to be a Pole and a woman? Is it even possible to feel like one in today’s reality, if the worldview one adopts does not fit into the framework of power used by the authorities? As it turns out, each of Us has another definition of Polishness; still, some social groups try to simplify and pigeonhole it. However, they forget that it is impossible to paint the whole country white and red, as each of these colours has many different hues. The same is true of the views, values and ideas we hold in life.

   The use of a certain colour palette in relation to what fundamentalists might call images of female protagonists that deviate from the norm is intended as a mental experiment. Through this combination, I wanted to see what feelings would prevail among viewers. I wondered whether a photo showing a Polish mother breastfeeding would evoke joy because of the child, scorn by showing some nudity, respect and patriotic feelings because of the use of the national colours, or perhaps outrage, given the broader context and knowledge of how women are treated. Anonymity is deliberate, as I wanted to make the work universal to allow the viewer to personally identify with what is depicted, rather than give a ready-made template and identify the story with specific individuals.

I created this project not only to find a Pole and a woman within me, but also because I wanted to show my solidarity with the women who tirelessly fight on my behalf for my rights. Instead of a sword, I have a camera and emotions. Armed with them, I set out for this battle for freedom for all of Us.

Martyna Dzianach has graduated from the University of Gdańsk and WFH the Sopot School of Photography. At present she creates exhibitions at DESA UNICUM Auction House in Warsaw. She believes in the importance of combining art and activism as she thinks that various media are both vehicles of vital issues and impact the reality around us. She is preparing to hold a solo exhibition in Warsaw on climate change, in which she will use refined photographic techniques. In addition to photography, she is passionate about dance, performance, poetics, music, and acting. In 2020, she starred in Sheak Fear Break Walls, directed by Philip Parr, at the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre. This autumn she will give her performances on the streets of Warsaw, Gdańsk and Krakow. Her portraits and fashion photographs have been published by magazines such as Hunter Magazine, Vogue.it, Mob Journal, Dreamingless Magazine, and GMARO.


WOMEN : A Century of Change

​​The exhibition showcases photographs from the itinerant gallery “Women: A Century of Change” held by the National Geographic Society. Iconic reportage photographs and portraits have been selected from National Geographic’s unparalleled archive which spans over nine decades. These photos show the past and future of women from around the world, their daily lives, hopes, wisdom, and beauty. The Polish exhibition includes inspiring portraits of Wanda Rutkiewicz, Krystyna Kozioł and Anna Gumsley.

Since its foundation in 1888, the National Geographic Society has collected photographs documenting both the everyday life of different societies and cultures and the great heroic feats of modern heroes. All of these moments form a one-of-a-kind chronicle in which the figures of women portrayed over the course of a century stand out prominently.

The captivating exhibition “Women: A Century of Change”, scheduled to be held in Poland in August, is based on this unparalleled collection and many years of work of photographers. Iwona El Tanbouli-Jabłońska, curator and artistic director of the National Geographic Magazine Poland, has selected 30 timeless snapshots that collectively narrate inspiring stories of women of different nationalities and professions, living in different social and cultural contexts. We will see here both previously unpublished photos and the legendary photograph in which Steve McCurry captured a green-eyed Afghan girl.

In the portrait gallery, we will come across e.g. Wanda Rutkiewicz, one of the first women to conquer the world of Himalayan mountaineering; her portrait can be found in the “Women of Power” section. The photograph comes from the private collection of photographer Ewa Abgarowicz. Alongside Rutkiewicz, we will also see Krystyna Kozioł and Anna Gumsley, researchers whose courage and perseverance in academic work can be an inspiration to all.