Barbara Kalina

digital photography-inkjet print
20 x 40 in.

This image comes from a project, Self Portraits. For the moment, it is a set of nine images that include triptychs and diptychs. This work focuses on the most important element that makes up who I am as a daughter of immigrant parents, whose work involved physical labor. In this project, I present myself in three interchangeable and inescapable stages of my life. My past however, is quite often unwelcome information in our hierarchical society.

This work is about struggle and transformation, juxtaposes the old and the new life and raises critical issues faced by many. It demonstrates my anger and frustration at the way people associated with the working class are still viewed in our society today but more importantly, the images also show the determination in driving at achievement of something that the labor class would not have been associated with. Labor is something to be proud of. It provides the motivation and prepares us to handle the necessary challenges in pursuing education or other goals that seem so close for us to pursue yet are still far out of our reach. Education continues to be a luxury to people in economically challenged and labor driven communities.

I embrace my past instead of looking away from it. My choice of the print scale is to prevent the viewer from turning away and escaping the reality of our society and the constant struggle for accomplishment. I want the viewer to face reality as I acknowledge my past with pride.

© Barbara Kalina