Since the beginning of 21st century we have witnessed one of the biggest legal migration movements in the history of Europe and the world. The European Union’s enlargement and the opening of UK borders to people of the eight newest eastern European Union (EU) members in May 2004 initiated the biggest wave of migration Great Britain has ever borne. In fact, around two million Poles have arrived in Britain since the EU borders were wide open. The influx was greater in number than the population of Warsaw. This figure records the number of those who have travelled to the UK but not necessarily those who have stayed. Nevertheless, it suggests that the growing army of workers from Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe who are establishing themselves in Britain may count in the hundreds of thousands.
These migrant travellers left their homes in search of a land of greater opportunity and to escape from the harsh reality they often endured in their native countries. The flow of Poles into the UK has changed the face of the British economy. The importance of this phenomenon is certainly great. “Poles Apart” is a project about this young immigration. It is about people torn apart and those living between here and there, about my fellow Poles who try to build their lives far away from home. I tried to focus on showing their personal battles with day-to-day life in the UK.
I have striven to show the struggle of somebody who has just come to London, as well as someone who is already firmly rooted and assimilated into this environment. All of them found it difficult to some degree and all miss what they left behind. It is a very personal project for me as I am the part of that movement. On the whole, this project is about nostalgia, homesickness and separation.