Katarzyna and Marianne Wasowska
2018 - Ongoing
This work takes it roots in very specific phenomenon of polish migration to South America, in the time of Poland's partitions. We focus on Brazilian and Argentinian cases, the biggest destination points, which for sure at that time were perceived by migrants as very unknown and exotic.
We are highlighting this side of European colonization in America which is hardly known, because it had totally different nature than others. In central Europe, colonization has been run as a proper advertisement campaign, which purpose was to colonize areas in order to take a benefit out of them, pretending they were not habitated. In Brazilian case, purpose was also to find workers to replace slaves after abolition and to fulfil governments plan of making Brazil white. In Argentina, the plan was mostly based on the idea that only european workers could properly work on building the dreamt modern society.
This migration politics strongly influenced the way migrants could define themselves and build a relationship with new land, which is specially important since most of them were farmers. Polish descendants nowadays (after around 100/150 years) are still actively cultivating their ancestors traditions and language.
By using our own photographs, archival documents and family albums, we wish to create multilayered visual story. On one hand we work collecting tellings from the collective memory about the country of origin and the beginnings of settlements in a new homeland. On another hand, we focus on creolization and mix of cultures, observing how the slavonic background got sincretized with south american context, creating a notion of identity which placed between reconstruction, fiction and fantasy.