Sylwia Kowalczyk

Our Voices

Our Voices finds its inspiration from the ‘Clap for Carers’ social movement that began in March 2020, responding to the increasingly onerous working conditions of NHS staff during the mass outbreak of Covid-19. Initially introduced to honour the unwavering valour of care workers, the movement quickly gained traction across the UK before facing criticism for its failure to incite meaningful financial and cultural improvements in the healthcare sector. Using the hands as a point of departure, the series projects their image onto public buildings across Edinburgh, Scotland, that hold association with essential workers. Through the anonymity of the hands, Kowalczyk intends to remind the viewer of their own preconceptions about Polish workers in a culture that continually imagines migrants in the role of ‘low-skilled’ labourer. As a Polish artist herself, Kowalczyk’s anonymous limbs disrupt this notion and call attention to the limitless diversity of empowered migrant workers in the UK.

Sylwia Kowalczyk is a photographer. Her images include a surprising juxtaposition of interiors and landscapes with a fragile and transformative aspect of paper or projections and of a human body. Objects get enlarged to the point of abstraction when the artist explores new ways of approaching a studio photography practice and fluctuates between photography and installation. Sylwia Kowalczyk was born in Lublin, Poland. She now lives and works in Scotland, in Edinburgh.