In my ongoing long-term project "The Neighbours" I am using a medium of photography to create a portrait of contemporary and multicultural Scottish society.
In today's well connected world anyone regardless the nationality, cultural or religious background can be our neighbour. Historical and modern factors had big influence on how our societies look today. I believe that it is important to have a record of the current processes and also to remember about the past events, which shaped our world. Considering current political climate, when benefits of the diverse society are being slowly disregarded I believe that it is important to remind ourselves about the importance of the cultural mosaic we are living in.
Reasons for migrations are different and vary from political ones, economical to those driven by a curiosity. My goal is to show this variety by meeting and photographing people, who moved from their countries of birth and settled down in Scotland. By photographing and interviewing my sitters in their private environment I am trying to show a part of their life and to encourage the viewers to draw their own conclusions.
To highlight that migration, and multicultural societies are not a new occurrence I am researching on communities and individuals, who came to Scotland many years ago. Polish soldiers who stayed here after the Second World War or Jewish families, which settled down in Scotland in nineteen century could be used as a good example. My research proves that these examples are just a part of a much wider and interesting multicultural story of this Northern European nation. We can't forget about Scotland's historical and contemporary links with Asian, African and Commonwealth countries.
The last ten years brought many changes to the Scottish society; many people from new EU countries settled down here what resulted in Scotland being even more diverse and multicultural. These people and their stories are also integral part of my project.
My main ambition is to continue in this project in the different parts of United Kingdom to create a body of work, which would be considered not only as a photographic work of art but also as a useful sociological document for generations to come.
After all, we are all descendants of migrants or migrants ourselves and histories of all countries, even the most distant are bounded together by people who were, are and will be constantly on the move around the world.
New layers and new thoughts are added constantly as I am progressing but the core idea is staying the same and I am committed to carry on my work for a long period of time. I see "The Neighbours" manifesting in the form of a book and exhibition accompanied by the stories of people on the photographs.