Neighbours looks at the notion of language in the context of neighbourhood and mutual recognition. Do we live with each other or next to one another? Is language enough to break preset prejudice between people? Orpik examines the importance of language in relation to heritage, tradition and identity building processes. Despite a specific geolocation and the focus on Belarusian community, Orpik attempts to weave a broader story on different layers of communication that bring people together. The photographic layer is mixed with a songbook showing traditional Belarusian songs. Traditional singing in Belarusian culture is one of the cores that allows the community to grow. The traditional songs presented in the songbook reflect on events experienced collectively (birth, death, weddings etc.), contemplated through music. Orpik was working with an amateur choir and a choir conductor in order bring back the dialect used in the songs to the contemporary surface. The community undergoes a very slow process of degradation as the dialect is not being passed to younger generations, hence the tradition and identity within becomes incomplete/broken. Neighbours tries to find a ground for developing a new language which can work as a carrier of both tradition and the new for understanding the intersectional solidarity.
Monika Orpik (b.1997) is a visual artist, using interdisciplinary approach. Her practice is research based, making use of archival materials, interviews, oral histories and artefacts. The methodology involves working with specialists across various disciplines – ethnography, anthropology, film and music. Her works deals with questions of reconciliation and dialogue in post-traumatic societies. She perceives landscapes as witnesses in which marks of the past are recorded. She is looking for points where various extremes meet : oppression vs trauma, rewriting history vs facts etc. – moments that often lack any photographs and cannot be seen. Her approach is characterised by the use of alternative methods of printing, which stand as a mediator for storytelling. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Photography from London College of Communication. She’s now doing her MA at Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg. Since March 2022 she has been a member of ABC (Artists’ Book Cooperative).