2020 - Ongoing
“Neighbours” examines the identity building process of Belarusian community in Poland. With regards to the 2020 elections in Belarus and the subsequent wave of protests, the questions of what is the notion of the neighbour and what is the border between Poland and Belarus, which historically was dividing villages and families, came to the surface again. The work combines narratives of Belarusians in two regions : Podlasie (East Poland), where they have been based for hundreds of years and contributed to the development of cultural heritage and Warsaw, location which is becoming more and more popular due to economic or political migration. By documenting the communities through photographs and interviews “Neighbours” is trying to find a middle ground for a mutual cultural consciousness and a subsequent support in the times political upheaval and rising discrimination of minorities.
The whole series will be presented with a Songbook specially developed for the project. A graphic songbook (shown in form of a free newspaper) of traditional Polish-Belarusian songs sung in a dialect that can become extinct in a very near future. The dialect is now only spoken in a very few villages mostly inhabited by elderly Belarusians without any chances of being passed on to younger generations. The songbook would consist of a series of photographs showing conductor’s signs/gestures as a symbol of unheard melody and a language known only for a quite narrow audience. Each sign would refer to the sounds/words appearing in the songs almost like a sign language for the endangered dialect.