Polish born photographer Aldona Kmiec describes herself as an artist who never chose to be one, art was a necessity for her.
“I didn’t choose to become an artist. I have always been a creative person, and I had to find ways to express it. Art didn’t have a central place in my family. I grew up on a farm in Poland during the communist era. For me art was the means of survival and a way of finding my identity.”
Aldona is a photographer who ventures outside her medium with street paste-ups and installation art. She has practised art ever since her childhood in Poland, studied photography at the London Metropolitan University and now considers herself as an Australian artist living and working in Ballarat, Victoria.
“The world I grew up in was the world where men played cards, women cooked food and children listened to stories about the war, memories veiled in a thick smoke of cigarettes. I wish I had a camera back then when I hid behind the bed, with my eyes wide open from fear and excitement,” she has described her childhood and this notion can still be found in her art today. Her photography is striking, flavoured with strong atmospheric elements and moments of wonder. Some of her photographs seem like startled snap shots in life while others are dream-like memories of times gone by. When asked how she would describe her art and herself, Aldona answers with three simple words – gentle, intimate, raw.
Thematically her photos flow from object focused compositions to landscapes and scenery imagery. she counts Unicorns Are Real, Café in Soler and Winnemera Nights as her personal favourites. All these artworks represent a different focus in her photography both thematically and atmospherically and present us with a great cross section of her work.
Inspiration for Aldona is never far away. “[I draw inspiration from] train and road trips, people I meet, the world around me. What inspires me, I photograph.”
Art is a way of survival for Aldona; it was as a child, it has led her through life and it has taken her around the world. From here onwards, her art is the way she wants to make her living and she hopes to visit her native Poland to plan art workshops for her local primary school. Maybe these workshops will offer that same way of finding your identity and open the world in all its creativeness to the next generation.