Monika Orpik is a Polish visual artist based in Hamburg, Germany. In her recently published photobook, “Stepping Out Into This Almost Empty Road,” Orpik captures the ripples of change across the region surrounding the border between Poland and Belarus in the wake of Belarus’ 2020 presidential election and subsequent anti-government protests, and the ongoing refugee crisis. She is interested in the pivotal moment when “the most idyllic scenario becomes a horror of a political regime” — “from picking apples in the orchard to tear gas in the street.”
Combining photographic material and texts that revolve around the permanent in-between state that is inseparable from the notion of migration, the project begs the questions, “What happens when you’re forced to leave something behind and start anew elsewhere? What tools do you use to visualise the loss and the absence? How do you build your identity when the dialect you speak is rejected as a language?”
Working on the basis of invitation and collaboration, the encounters she had were more important to Orpik than the their outcome: “The community was portrayed in the way they decided for – leaving their traces only in text or photographed objects and landscapes that surround them on a daily basis. The process of Stepping Out Into This Almost Empty Road became a reflection on what constitutes neighbourhood, the experience of migration and how the values of diversity can bring people together.”
See more from “Stepping Out Into This Almost Empty Road” below!