ZOFIA JANIGA

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Curatorial Rationale

Gender

I spent my childhood years in the, for me, culturally conservative country, Poland, and my adolescence in Germany, which I consider to be a more open-minded culture and country in many aspects. Throughout my teenage years, I struggled finding my own identity in the confusion caused by the more traditional views impressed on me during my childhood and the modern ideas present in the culture I suddenly found myself in, especially as a young woman. I have had to question my own views many times. This exhibition allows me to explore the topic of gender, art being the medium I find it easiest to express myself in. Having experienced misogyny in the past, I know how damaging it can be, especially for developing, young girls. Therefore, my artworks are also meant to be a way to allow me to share my thoughts and personal experiences. I have specifically focused on the double standards, which I feel to be the most normalized form of gender-based discrimination/sexism.

First, I wanted to explore the traditional values I grew up with. “Wigilia” is meant to show women who’ve had an impact on me through the use of Polish traditions and patterns. They have directed me in my individual search for identity, while the men placed next to them are a reminder of the gender divide that is also very evident in the Polish language.

“Object #1795551” addresses the beauty standards imposed on women, where many base their own interpretation of femininity on their chest size. For this project, I had to learn how to work with a material completely new to me, silicone.

Relating back to my heritage “Samiec twój wróg!” is a piece inspired by the Polish movie ”Sexmission”. I had to learn new skills, such as drilling, to complete this project. Another challenge I met was the execution of the writing, as the text that was meant to go behind the plexiglass wasn’t noticeable enough, so I had to improvise and write the text underneath.

Lastly, “***** ***” was actually the first artwork I started on for the exhibition. It became my inspiration for the first topic I had, which was related to censorship. However after seeing the artwork used as an example of misogyny in the Women Strike in Poland, I decided to switch my topic to focus on gender.