For all the years of politically forced amnesia, that have passed since the WWII atrocities gravely wounded the social body of Central Europe, the holders of the broken heritage of multicultural Poland were that mere one per cent of its citizens, who belong to thirteen different national and ethnic minorities. Just a shadow of what it used to be.
Extracting their identity from the collected and piously preserved scraps of the lost past, they've kept transmitting it to daughters and sons. Even if some of them chose to assimilate rather than integrate, they remained overwhelmed with the fondness for particular kinds of clothes, food, songs, beliefs, aesthetics and all these things that people long for without even knowing why and call “roots” sometimes. That's how we learn our own cultures and identities.
While traveling in the country and visiting minorities families in search for images of those silent, almost invisible rites of initiation, I have also dug into collections of photographs, which often were presented to me. What I found were another patterns of cultural transmission – through aged images of the past and ancestors.
By carefully selecting the old photographs and matching them with the present portraits of generations confronted in their today's environment, I am trying to show how strong and – in the same time – fragile is that trans generational communication which shapes not only the minorities in Poland, but all of us around the world.