Moving to Poland in Search of Inner Freedom

Belarusian artist Alena Kakhanovich uses photography to explore the mental constrictions that arise when moving to a new country. Turning the camera on herself and other people with similar sensations, Kakhanovich offers an intimate view of her experience living in a neighbourhood that was once the Warsaw Ghetto.

Belarusian artist Alena Kakhanovich uses photography to explore the mental constrictions that arise when moving to a new country. Turning the camera on herself and other people with similar sensations, Kakhanovich offers an intimate view of her experience living in a neighbourhood that was once the Warsaw Ghetto.

This project is about searching for internal freedom. We live within limits and boundaries, both physical and psychological, and the only way to liberation is to leave our own captivity, where we are the most severe jailers. How do you learn not to interfere with yourself and be happy?

A few years ago I moved to live in Poland and took up residence in the former Warsaw Ghetto territory. I had a lot of hope and confidence. However, my first years in a new place were not easy. The biggest difficulty was to lose a sense of home. As if I left one and did not move into another. I was stuck between two worlds, and I had the full feeling that I was alone here. I stayed in my inner prison and physically lived in a territory which was a prison for an entire people. I began to build my own ghetto wall inside my soul.

In my project, I tried to explore this subject. I made portraits of people experiencing similar feelings – confusion, loneliness, and imprisonment without physically existing barriers. To my mind, not the walls fell around us, not the system or power destruction, not money, but we ourselves make us feel free. Our house is always inside and even if the body is weak, the spirit soars.

Words and Pictures by .

is a Belarusian visual artist and photographer. She graduated from the Belarusian State University in 2008 and finished the Academy of Photography in Warsaw in 2016. Her work focuses on psychology, people, relationships, and the subject of memory and mythology as portrayed through photography. Find her on PHmuseum and Instagram.

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This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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