Stefania Kossakowska

University: University of South Wales

Artist Statement: National identity is a significant measure of describing who we are. It can be empowering but at the same time excluding and alienating. Language+border+race, in theory, should add up to a country and what goes with it identifying yourself with it. This equation becomes unsolvable if one of the components differs from the rest. Being torn apart and straddling two homes can cast doubt your own national identity. Despite holding more than one passport, when you have to fill in a document you are tempted to tick the nationality box OTHER. Who are you then?

Her Name Is Polonia publication deals with the fairly new term of national identity as described by historians. By documenting the Polish diaspora in the United Kingdom, which I am also a part of, I explore the experiences of different women who migrated to Great Britain in seek of answers. The project itself emerged from the diversification of views on the Brexit referendum vote in 2016. Ever since then, I have been investigating the nature of migration and belonging to a “home”. My research was grounded in Polish folklore and British symbolism of the empire. It navigated me while creating the narrative for the photographs. I call myself the ‘new’ new social documentary photographer, as my work is carefully staged yet holds the element of a documentary. 

Images from the series  Her Name Is Polonia

Images from the series Her Name Is Polonia