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Kalisz – a Polish story

Monika at home in Kalisz the day before returning to the UK where she now lives and works


Kalisz – a Polish story, photo essay by Kirk G Ellingham and Monika Skoczylas.
Your EUrope

A collaboration with Polish artist ‘Monika Skoczylas’ about the oldest recorded inhabited city in Poland and one family who lives there. Told in four chapters it’s hard to say if its finished but part one is completed the next book waits in the air for the story and life to continue.

Chapter one: Postcards – photographs of Kalisz and the Skoczylas family sent back to us by Anna Skoczylas, written on the back are her dreams and hopes for her daughter in her new country.

Chapter two – Lost dreams/white fever – we visit again in the depths of winter, kiss Babcia, cousins & new babies – Grandmother dies one month after we return – we grieve and remember.

Chapter three – Corki / daughters – an artistic venture using old photographs of the women in her family, with poetry and paint to convey the told and unknown stories of the women in her family who have suffered since the 1920’s and the men who left and disappeared.

Chapter Four – Wrona – (crow) some words in polish to an English ear sound beautiful like Ladna, Wrong, Wasco, Locate but standing alone in the Polish language they don’t have the same resonance. I look for this beauty and darkness with no real synopsis black as a crow told in poetry as symbol of malice but as beautiful and tragic as the human condition.
If I have to describe the project, then they are a collection of emotional bound portraits, street images and emotional symbols.
The essay is a resonance of the history of a Polish City and a family, lost cousins, estranged aunts and empty houses.
Kalisz is a City where the weight of history pushes us deep into the blood soaked stone and where words alone are just useless. (Kirk G Ellingham, Monika Skoczylas)

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Back of the postcard her mother ‘ Anna’ has sent, she talks about her hope and dreams for Monika

The view of Kalisz just before dusk from the balcony

Land Monikas brother own just outside Kalisz

Grandmother and Granddaughter caught in dreams

Brother and sister in the dark

Regina – Monikas Babcia or (Grandmother) at her first Holy Communion

A distant photograph of Monikas Grandfather and friends in the army, he left her Grandmother in the 1950’s

Monikas Mother Anna at her first holy communion not long after her Father had left,

A pre-War derelict house on the corner of Gornoslaska street, surrounded by new flats

Monikas estranged Aunt

Adam and Daughter

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