Sanare, 2019, Karolina Łebek

Sanare, Karolina Łebek

Artist: Karolina Łebek
Sanare (from Latin – to heal)

Artists statement:

In 2018 I was fortunate enough to undertake a period of research and production of a new video work, exploring my heritage as a member of the Lemko diaspora, slowly discovering my own roots. Throughout the tragic history of Lemkos, forcefully removed from their ancestral homeland of the Low Beskids area of the Carpathian Mountains in a series of violent deportations following WWII, worship and singing have remained crucial and unifying factors in recognising and maintaining a shared sense of cultural identity, revealing unique mythologies, forgotten rituals and rites of passage. With this work I’m drawing on the cultural, spiritual and personal accounts of violence, trauma and shame manifested through generations to create a musical, performative and visual experience in which the wounded voices of the past mould into a song in the present, striving for recognition and reparation.

Thanks to the Illusion of Return project, I will be traveling to Low Beskids to continue this work, this time exploring mineral water springs and the system of sanatoria in Krynica Zdroj. My first memory of re/connecting to Lemko culture is linked to sampling mineral waters of this town from each of the five springs active till today, as a form of communion and an early initiation during a transformative family trip to the region in the early 90s. Krynica Zdroj is one of the most popular medical spa destinations in Poland, with carefully designed recovery programs tailored to a variety of ailments. I will be staying in a sanatorium to participate in healing rituals both as a patient and an observer, gathering information on the medicinal properties of different types of natural minerals while focusing on the inner worlds of the participants and spaces where healing occurs. I will be traveling through this area which fell under Lemko territory prior to 1947, attempting to create a video and sound work existing partly as a poetic interpretation of the meaning of the source, partly a meditation on healing, identity and our connection to the natural world beyond the physical.

The project ‘Sanare pt. 1’ takes the form of a work in progress video installation accompanied by live performance.

Supported by the Arts Council England.