Katarzyna Majak: Women of Wisdom

Elwinga, a druid

Katarzyna Majak

Women of Wisdom (2011-2012)


‘Women of Power’ – a solo show by Katarzyna Majak at Porter Contemporary NY
31.05 – 14.07. 2012
an opening reception May 31 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Porter / Contemporary, 548 W. 28th Street, New York, USA


7 June – 27 July 2012
Slovene Ethnographic Museum
Metelkova 2 1000 Ljubljana

'31 Women in Art Photography' 
25.07– 17.08 2012
Hasted Kraeutler Gallery 
537 W. Street, NYC

Poland is said to be more than 90% Catholic. Christianity was forcefully introduced centuries ago to have successfully erased almost all the traces of paganism, witchcraft or shamanic traditions. Basically no line of heritage survived. Children at school learn Greek, Roman, German or Nordic mythology.

In the series 29 portraits and engaging interviews I present a counter to the seeming homogeneity by revealing the realm of those existing beyond the mainstream – witches, healers, enchanters, visionaries and spiritual leaders. 

Only a few traditional healers (so called ‘whisperers’ who mix religion and primeval superstitions to heal and remove spells using prayers) survived on the Belarusian border and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Others will try to revive a dead tradition – they may have had grandmothers who could ‘see’ or were herb healers. Some others say the knowledge survived in the subconscious but there is a  need to learn from outer traditions… Thus many, left with no other choice, travel abroad – to North America, Peru, or New Zealand – to learn, come back and mix the knowledge with some local traditions – old Slavs ceremonials or demonology. Most believe pagan spirit and witchcraft somehow managed to survive in the subconscious. 

This fascinating journey from a woman to a woman (the youngest in her early 30s and the oldest in her late 80s) all over the country was my search for female wisdom and plurality of spiritual paths hidden within a monoreligious society. For many of my models it was a ‘coming out’. 

I took pictures with a very low depth of field and focused on their eyes. 

While shooting women wore ceremonial outfits and hold their ‘objects of power’. They were asked to look directly into the lens to use photography to heal a potential viewer. They simultaneously worked with the energy transmitting it through the lens.

The project has been selected a Critical Mass finalist, has already been presented at artxwomen during AA Fair in Los Angeles in January 2012 (with Porter Contemporary NY Gallery) and soon will be presented in New York and Ljubljana (Slovenia). It was also selected for the exhibition '31 Women in Art Photography' by Humble Arts Foundation in NY (it will take place at Hasted Kraeutler Gallery (537 W. 24th Street, NYC) July 25th – August 17, 2012). In December the project will be presented at Bratislava Central European House of Photography.

Joanna Leads, Womens circles and ceremonies for women

Kasia Emilia, the one who is

Paraskiewa, a whisperer

Bea, the one who listens to the woods

Enenna, a Wiccan

Maria, a healer and a visionary

Natalia, an artist


Katarzyna Majak received her PhD in Photography at Poznan Academy of Fine Arts. In 2002 she was an artist-in-residence at ‘Florida – First Contact' project at Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. Majak continued her studies in the US when she was awarded a scholarship by Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado in 2003. She is a Critical Mass (Portland, 2011) finalist, a recipient of Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage scholarship, her works were selected and published in ‘The Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography Vol. 2.’ She is a member of editorial board and a regular contributor to ‘Fotografia' quarterly and had been a photography lecturer since 2003.

In 2010 Majak was selected for ‘Photographers‘ Network:2010', in Siegen, Germany and in 2012 for ‘31 Women in Art Photography ‘(New York exhibition scheduled  for July 2012). She has exhibited and curated throughout Europe and the U.S. She is represented by Porter/Contemporary New York and Ego Gallery in Poznan (Poland).



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