I would like to share with you a bit of inspiration and stories behind my 'Portraits from the back' drawings. In the beginning, I would like to highlight that I don't want to impose any interpretation on the viewers. I wish that my artworks were rather depictions of emotions and experiences in which everybody finds their own story. Often people that have my works in their collection, share with me their interpretations and memories that my drawings remind them of, and that's one of my favorite and most valuable parts of my job, and what motivates me to work as an artist. I'm always very grateful to hear about connections that people feel with my artworks and I'm very much appreciating when my drawings find new welcoming homes, so they can gain new meanings and stories.
My current studio practice is strongly connected to my experience as an immigrant. The metaphors and symbols that appear in my works come from my own experience of longing for a homeland and Slavic culture which consists of rituals involving worshipping the elemental grandeur of nature. Surprisingly, I started to be more interested in the Polish culture, once I found myself living in a different country. Thanks to home-sickness I started researching more about the culture where I come from, but also about my own roots.
The drawing is inspired by the old traditional petit-coat which I found recently in my family home and which was hand-embroidered by my great-grandmother. With the hairstyle, I also wanted to refer to Slavic culture and to present myself as part of this tradition. The petit coat is full of creases as it was folded and hidden in the wardrobe for many years, but I found it quite symbolic and poetic. Through this drawing, I was exploring my connection to home, but also my experience of living and understanding a foreign country, so I might say it can be considered as a bit of a self-portrait.
I often use the symbolism of an apple, for a few reasons; it's the most common fruit growing on the East Slavic lands, and also because a lot of old Slavic songs and fairy tales refer to apples. I remember being a child and spending Summers in my grandparent's house in the countryside, there were a lot of abandoned orchards and the apples were (and still are) growing there regardless, the land and trees are still sharing their gifts with the people.