/ Tomasz Kawecki / Photo story

A Lair

The house in Witowice Dolne is the house of my childhood. It is occupied by my eyes and by the ghosts I collected with great dedication during the first years of my life.

The house stands on the edge of a forest so green and virgin that you cannot help but happen upon magical creatures within it. Returning to its depths, I resume my adventures and rethink riddles left unresolved. I still seek the answers. My grandmother was my guide through this realm. It was she who led me into the forest. She addressed mushrooms, stones, and roots by their true names. Some she gave anthropomorphic features and carried home. Over the years, these objects filled the interior. Nothing was ever discarded—if she returned with something, it stayed with her forever. The house grew old with her. Everything within was subject to natural cycles.

When I was a child, we slept in the attic. The walls allowed in the wind on which outdoor noises were borne. I imagined I was sleeping in a treehouse in the middle of the forest. The mountain wind that whistled around the room made me shiver, but I was never afraid. We were safe because we were protected by my grandmother’s enchanted amulets. Huge roots resembling animals, bunches of plants, and pebbles arranged on the clay of the old stove watched over us. They reconciled the home with the dark forest.

Chochoł/The Sanctification – I began to reinterpret old myths and Slavic rituals. I used amulets from my childhood home, which was a warehouse for my grandmother’s cabinets of curiosities. Through performative activities, objects, installations and portraits, I combined the forest space with the space of the house. My work results in a series of symbolic images dealing with the cycles of life and death present in nature as well as in human life.

The Collector – Grandma’s portraits are a collective work. Mine and hers. These are long conversations about her collections and past. There is history to each of these things. I have the impression that thanks to the items she collects, it is easier for her to remember a past.

Mandrake bath – There are many myths and magical activities associated with the mandrake root. This is mainly due to its anthropomorphic appearance as well as its healing properties. One ritual says that after washing the root in fresh milk and then dressing it, if left in the flat, it becomes its protector and brings good luck.

Tomasz Kawecki is a visual artist and photographer from Poland. He is a lecturer at the Academy of Photography in Krakow (PL). He is currently writing a bachelor’s thesis on paranormal phenomena in photography at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava (CZ). His works have been exhibited and published internationally, recognised by photography awards in the US, Poland, Japan and Italy among others.