Polesie Landscapes

Zofia Chometowska referred to her Polesie photographs as images of ‘exotic Poland’, in one issue of the “Women at Work” [Kobiety w Pracy] magazine she juxtaposed shots from her journey to Italy with the Polesie landscapes thus emphasizing the exceptional nature of scenes from the eastern borderlands of Poland. Rivers, lakes, and forests come together to form living elements of a distant realm. The artist remained unattracted by aestheticised postcard imagery, admitting that “landscape cards did not satisfy me, I kept looking for inspiration for other forms”. The endless stretches of Polesie land, the region of most severe poverty in the Second Polish Republic, were mostly inhabited by the Poleszuk people who ethnically came closest to the Belorussians. The bulk of the territory was taken up by marshes, rivers and lakes, which made boats the most convenient means of transportation. The so-called kureń houses for hunters and fishermen, built on piles with a centrally located hearth and an opening in the roof, also constituted a characteristic element of the landscape.
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