The “Oasis: In our Quarantine Yard” series was created by Irmina Walczak during the 95 days that her family was confined in the Spanish countryside, the place where the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic took them by surprise.
It explores the experience of quarantine far from a large city, in a rural area where contact with nature can caress, but tension is enhanced by human absence, both visual and audible. This is especially acute for children, for whom the fence and gate is their window to the world. Contact with nature becomes more intense; the oberservation of it creates a silent time of leisure and relaxation. Simultaneously, the detachment from reality and its natural rhythm makes the imagination flourish. As the sun sets, anxiety and fear of death awaken. We all learn how to tame these monsters of the night; in the morning, we wake up light enough to appreciate the growth of our temporary garden.
Irmina Walczak was born in Poland. She studied Latin America Cultural Studies at Warsaw University and a PhD in Social Sciences at the University of Brasilia. Throughout the years, she had worked as a researcher in cultural politics evaluation, using the approach of ethnography and visual anthropology. In 2011, she turned her interest to photography itself and started exploring family relationships, intimacy and aspects of daily life. She frequently works with her life partner Sávio Freire. They study and successively deepen the condition of the child in contemporary society and its corporeality. They developed together a body of work about a childhood free of technology and close to nature, which was published in 2016 in Brazil under the name “Retratos pra Yayá”. Simultaneously, Irmina creates representations of herself as a mother and reflects on how motherhood is inscribed in the female body and how it shapes a mother’s identity. She was a finalist of the Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography (Israel 2020) and the LensCulture Portrait Award (USA 2016), as well as the winner of the Head On Portrait Prize (Australia 2018) and runner-up of the Revela-t 2021 (Spain, 2021).
Irmina Walczak’s photographs will be exhibited during the upcoming 20th International Festival of Photography Fotofestiwal in Łódź, Poland. During the largest and jubilee edition of the festival, there will be over 40 exhibitions and the works of 150 visual artists will be presented. More info at www.fotofestiwal.com.