Ballarat Artist Aldona Kmieć is a Polish-born photographic artist working in Ballarat and Melbourne, with an interest in documenting regional communities. Raised on a farm in communist era Poland, Aldona’s work explores memory and identity. Often combining photography with elements such as sound, text and physical objects, Aldona’s site-specific installations provide a 3D perspective for her images.

In 2020 Aldona was commissioned by the State Library of Victoria to take part in a multi-story documentary project Focus on Country Victoria. A social history of Victoria, these images capture ordinary moments in extraordinary times, as regional communities still reeling from devastating droughts and bushfires faced the new challenge of a global pandemic.
Aldona has exhibited extensively; her photography is held in public and private collections. She has been the recipient of a number of prizes, including Under the Floorboards art residency award, BAF’s Eureka Prize Award and CCP Leica Salon prize. Aldona was also a finalist for the 2014 Bowness and Maggie Diaz Photography Prize.

‘I think of my photographs as pages of an unfinished book that is yet to find its title: they appear, stack up, populate my personal space quickly and often reveal themselves in dreams. They are living organisms, against all odds – they communicate and connect with other photographs and take on their own path. It’s almost as if I’m not there to facilitate it at all.”

Family House in Biezen Polska Far better to grasp the Universe as it is than to persist in delusion however satisfying & reassuring


I grew up in a small village in Poland during the fall of communism and the start of democracy. Our family nearly lost everything during WWII.

When I was a kid, nobody had much money to go out. Our social life happened at a house or while working, or on a street outside your home. No internet or phones, just close-knit community. I had a second-hand piano accordion. Together with my childhood friend, I would play to anyone who was passing by.

As a child I made a promise to myself to learn foreign languages, and to one day leave my village to explore the world. It was a ridiculous dream to have at the time, but it was my dream. The world I grew up in was the world where men played cards, women cooked food and children listened to stories about the war, memories veiled in a thick smoke of cigarettes. I wish I had a camera back then, when I hid behind the bed, my eyes were wide open from fear and excitement of stories being told, stories of war relived once more.

Balancing Act portrait by Aldona Kmiec Polish pregnant woman

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