Featuring Sylwia Ciszewska-Peciak, Yuxi Hou, Ismail Khokon, Marcin Forys and the Central Eastern European Photography Club participants
A touring exhibition exploring themes of political identity, belonging, memory and representation.
Centrala is pleased to present Homeland, an exhibition following an 18-month residency of the photographer and visual artist Paulina Korobkiewicz. The exhibition opening will take place on the 6th of October at Centrala Gallery, Birmingham and on the 1st of December in Surface Gallery, Nottingham.
Homeland is departing from the research project Post-Socialist Britain?: Memory, Representation and Political Identity amongst German, Polish and Ukrainian Immigrants in the UK, a large-scale research project in collaboration with the University of Birmingham and the Nottingham Trent University exploring how and if memory is linked to political identity, and how this is manifested in a different national context.
Homeland will address themes of political identity, belonging, memory and representation among migrant communities in West Bromwich and Hyson Green, with a specific focus, but not limited to, Polish migrant communities. Throughout the residency, Korobkiewicz familiarised herself with these areas and established relationships with the members of the migrant communities, initiating dialogues and participating in local celebrations and events, researching and creating a contemporary portrait of those communities.
The exhibition will reflect on the visibility of the communities within the areas of focus (West Bromwich & Hyson Green), and serve as a platform to share experiences of migration from various perspectives. Korobkiewicz’s photographic series explores the visibility of the migrant community within public space and the importance of it.
Accompanying Korobkiewicz’s work, Homeland will also include photographic projects from Sylwia Ciszewska-Peciak, Yuxi Hou, Ismail Khokon, and Marcin Forys, participants of the Central European Photography Club, with whom she worked closely during her residency, through mentoring and sharing experiences.
Homeland is also highlighting the importance and the role of the artist as a social agent. The partnership and collaboration between Centrala and the University of Birmingham commissioning an artist to conduct community-based research, establish trust, and share experiences and stories of migration through visual storytelling.
Professor Sara Jones, the Principal Investigator for the Post-Socialist Britain project commented:
“The workshops showed how postsocialist and postcolonial experiences are in dialogue in super diverse spaces and how people use everyday encounters to make connections with one another. “
Alicja Kaczmarek, director of Centrala said:
“I’m delighted we are producing this touring exhibition showcasing Paulina’s long-term work during residency and her engagement with project participants and research process. Engaging with social research is an important part of our work and it’s wonderful we can combine it with art.”
Paulina Korobkiewicz said:
“My photographs of public spaces are an exploration of cultural aesthetics away from home and the changing image of the Eastern European migrant community. By documenting the daily paths of the migrant community, I tried to identify the notions of belonging, nostalgia for home, and elements of native culture in advertising and local businesses. I explored the influence of migration on one’s identity and the relationship with their country of origin. This residency has been an incredible opportunity to learn and connect with local communities, and meet some really fantastic people.”
Fri 06 Oct -Sat 16 Nov 2023
Unit 4 Minerva Works
158 Fazeley St
Opening Hours: Wed-Sat, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Frid 1 Dec – Sat 16 Dec 2023
16 Southwell Rd
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 12:00-18:00, and Saturdays 11:00-17:00
Notes to editors:
- About Centrala
Centrala Space was launched in 2015 and has established itself as a Nationally and Internationally recognised centre for Central and Eastern European Art and Artists. Centrala exists to achieve inclusion and well-being for Central and Eastern European (CEE) migrant communities in England. We use arts & culture as our tools to advance social integration, understanding, respect and cohesion between migrant and non-migrant communities.
- About Paulina Korobkiewicz
Paulina Korobkiewicz (b. 1993, Suwałki, Poland) is a photographer and visual artist. She earned her First-Class Honours BA Degree in Fine Art Photography from Camberwell College of Arts in 2015. Her work has been the subject in exhibitions internationally and has been featured in a variety of publications, including The Guardian, Wallpaper* Magazine, British Journal of Photography, Hapax Magazine, Photomonitor and It’s Nice That. She is the winner of Camberwell Book Prize 2016, and was shortlisted for prizes such as Bart Tur Photobook Prize, Magnum Graduate Photographers Award and Prix Pictet. She lives and works in London.
- About Post-Socialist Britain?: Memory, Representation and Political Identity amongst German, Polish and Ukrainian Immigrants in the UK
Post-Socialist Britain?: Memory Representation and Political Identity amongst German, Polish and Ukrainian Immigrants in the UK takes as its point of departure the growth in support for anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic parties across Europe. Our focus is on post-socialist countries – that is, those with experience of state socialist rule. The support for right-of-centre and xenophobic politics has frequently been explained in these contexts as being underpinned by collective memory of authoritarianism, and/or how these histories are used by those seeking support for ethnonationalist politics. Nonetheless, those who give such explanations usually assume that those remembering authoritarianism do so in their country of origin. Post-Socialist Britain? breaks out of this national mould to explore if and how memory is linked to political identity when the individual moves to a new national context.
- About the participants
Yuxi Hou (b.2004) is a documentary visual storyteller born in Beijing and is currently based in Nottingham. As a new immigrant and young adult herself, she’s constantly reflecting on her marginalised position in society, exploring themes such as growth, identity, migration, memories and family through a sensitive account of human interactions in distinct communities.
Ismail Khokon (b. 1984) is a British Bangladeshi socially engaged artist and photographer whose work explores the important relationship between identity, migration, heritage, displacement, health, well-being and environmentalism. He utilises his own lived experience to collaborate with others and highlight the experiences of marginalised communities and challenge the prevailing concepts of multicultural Britain.
Sylwia Ciszewska-Peciak (b.1989) is a Polish photographer, based in West Bromwich. She recently graduated from the Academy of Photography in Krakow. Putting down roots in the new place lead to her exploring the cosmopolitan nature of her new home by recording life on the street. In her street photography, she aims to capture stories: those candid, fleeting moments when people are most themselves, moments of introspection, ambiguity, joy and humour. The birth of her first daughter led her to documentary photography, using it as an instrument for deep self-reflection and self-therapy.
Marcin Forys (b. 1979) is a Polish freelance photographer based in Nottingham. His work is influenced mainly by sociological aspects and his main subjects are the urban landscape and portraits. Through his visual storytelling, he creates awareness and influences his audience leaving them with unanswered questions showing simple urban life.
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