Katarzyna Majak | Kobiety Mocy (Women of Power)

Katarzyna Majak’s exhibition at Bunkier Sztuki is the first exhibition in Poland, with more planned, to present a series of photographs portraying women who represent the new spirituality. The exhibition also comprises three films, documenting the ritual of purifying the city as well as fragments of the artist’s conversations with the women.

The project Women of Power is the outcome of the artist’s research, which took more than a year and for which she had received a grant from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. Katarzyna Majak took a journey, creating a map of beliefs which has altered the image of Poland as we know it – a country identified with Christian, and specifically, Catholic tradition. The protagonists of the project represent contemporary strands of pagan and neo-pagan spirituality, including Ásatrú, Wicca, Celtic reconstructionism and the Native Polish Church. There are healers, herbalists, story-tellers, shamans and witches – who have knowledge based on intuition and contact with nature. In Podlasie, the artist met up with whisperers, who combine indigenous traditions, passed on through the generations, with the Christian Orthodox religion.

A return to the ‘roots’ can be very difficult, due to a shortage of tangible traces of Slavonic culture and the assimilation of pagan traditions by Christianity. The women in search of them go on initiation journeys to countries where old customs and tradition have survived. They learn from spiritual teachers and guides from the New Zealand Maoris, from North American Indians and Peruvian shamans. Out of such journeys are born new, syncretic forms of spirituality.

The exhibition is being organised in collaboration with the Art Supermarket Foundation and Galeria Bielska BWA. The project has been presented abroad, including in the Porter Contemporary Gallery in New York, the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana, the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava and as part of the exhibition 31 Women in Art Photography at the Hasted Kraeutler gallery in New York.

About the project: http://www.womenofpower.pl/project.html

Katarzyna Majak. Visual artist, author of texts about photography, exhibition curator, lecturer. She has defended a PhD thesis on photography at the Faculty of  Multimedia Communication of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań. Graduate of English and Russian at the UAM in Poznań. She learnt photography from, amongst others, a grandson of Edward Weston, in California. She received a grant for the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado. She has worked as a lecturer, also at the Academy of Photography in Warsaw. She has had many individual exhibitions and participated in many group exhibitions in Europe and the USA.

Agnieszka Żechowska. Curator, art theoretician, author of texts on art, founder of the Art Supermarket Foundation. She has organised many group (international and national) and individual exhibitions.

Exhibition partners: Fundacja Supermarket Sztuki, Galeria Bielska BWA
Project media patrons: TVP Kultura, Fotopolis, Kwartalnik Fotografia, Obieg, Trzy Kolory
Exhibition media patrons: Cracow Life, Krakow Post, Format, Miasto Kobiet, O.pl, Poland Art, TVP Kraków, Tok FM