In a country, Poland, that has no more than 1% of national and ethnic minorities; the project is focusing on the existing realities of their everyday lives and on how they cultivate their own identity while trying to maintain their status as full citizens of Poland.
For all the years of politically forced amnesia, that have passed since the WWII atrocities gravely wounded the social body of Central Europe, the holders of the broken heritage of multicultural Poland were that mere one per cent of its citizens, who belong to thirteen different national and ethnic minorities. Just a shadow of what it used to be. [Have a look here]
Extracting their identity from the collected and piously preserved scraps of the lost past, they’ve kept transmitting it to daughters and sons. Even if some of them chose to assimilate rather than integrate, they remained overwhelmed with the fondness for particular kinds of clothes, food, songs, beliefs, aesthetics and all these things that people long for without even knowing why and call “roots” sometimes. That’s how we learn our own cultures and identities.
Gregory Michenaud, who’s been traveling the country and visiting minorities families in search for images of those silent, almost invisible rites of initiation, have also dug into collections of photographs, which often were presented to him. What he found were another patterns of cultural transmission – through aged images of the past and ancestors.
By carefully selecting the old photographs and matching them with the present portraits of generations confronted in their today’s environment, Gregory showed how strong and – in the same time – fragile is that transgenerational communication which shapes not only the minorities in Poland, but all of us around the world. [Have a look here]
The originators of this project have attempted to create a publication which is unique on the Polish market – the collective work concerning all the cultural and ethnic minorities in Poland. This photo project will be promoted through the publication of a photo album with content that will help readers to better understand the problems of these social groups existing in Poland.
Book is due to be published in 2015.
The album will thus complement a photo exhibition in Cracow with meetings and discussions that focus on the issues of minorities (in 2015).
The exhibition will then be shown all around Poland and abroad.