Columns | Published 2015/07/15

The Well – photo exhibition by Joanna Majchrowska, Adelaide

By Bogusław Kot

Joanna’s photo exhibition is extraordinary. It’s a journey to her roots going back to Biała Podlaska (Poland), and even further East. Her journey into the past began with family photo books. She was fortunate to have quite a lot of photos to look through, thanks to her father, who received an old Kodak camera from his father when he was a teenager. That’s how he became an amateur photographer. In those days having a photo camera was like being a millionaire. The cost of processing photos was high, so Joanna’s parents setup a darkroom in their bathroom and developed the photos at night after the children went to sleep. 

For her photographic exhibition Joanna digitised these amateur photos, some of which were damaged or faded, mostly black and white. In combination with her own photos that she took during her visits to Poland, Joanna created a birthday present for her parents in the form of the photographic exhibition, displaying old family photos together with the beauty of Podlasie in Poland.

Her inspiration was a photo of a well on the family farm in Dubowo which she often visited during her summer holidays, as a child. That’s why the exhibition in called – The Well.

Below is a taste of a few photos from the exhibition.

“The well is dry already, but my memories and connection with this place are still alive. I visited this place often in different seasons and I have taken photos of how things change around it. – Joanna Majchrowska 

Joanna 4 large

   photo: Joanna Majchrowska

“The well on the farm played a very important role. This well, constructed from concrete rings, was deep with cold, very tasty spring water. Around this well, something was always going on. On the left side of the well was a trough for cattle and horses. On the other side there was a trough to clean vegetables in. During the summer time, the well was also used as a “fridge”. In those days fridges as we know them today weren't in common use. We would hang special containers with milk or other dairy products on twine or chains in the well, to preserve them and keep them fresh. The courtyard was also used by the children to take baths outside in the warm weather. – Eugeniusz Majchrowski

Joanna 2 large
   photo: John Nieddu

Joanna 3 large
  photo: John Nieddu

The family gathered in large numbers at the show and the crowd gave the family a lovely surprise.  They loudly sang “Happy Birthday” in Polish to Czeslaw and Eugene Majchrowski

Joanna, we congratulate you on another artistic success with your dedicated hard work and effort. We wish you further success in your personal and professional life.

Continue to share the beauty of Poland, the country in which you were born, and enrich your new homeland Australia with your talents and skills.     

Joanna 1a small

JOANNA MAJCHROWSKA  together with her parents arrived in Australia in 1965. The family settled in Adelaide, South Australia.

 Biography: 1972-1974 Diploma in Graphic Design, SA School of Art; 1975-1979 Master of Arts – Graphic Design Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, Poland; 1995-2008 Assistant Community Arts Officer; Solo Exhibitions: 2010 Fragmented, Gallery Sztuk Pięknych, Warsaw. Poland; 2008 Corpus Delecti, Prospect Gallery; Collection Private: Australia, Canada, Germany, Poland. 

Photo exhibition – The Well, Prospect Gallery Adelaide, 5th – 26th July 2015.    



photo: John Nieddu