Justyna Orlowska

Orlowska-Justyna—ArtAscent Silver Artist of the 2024 Emotion call for artists.

Justyna Orlowska is a bold and sensitive artist. Her work is touching many souls through the medium of video and performance art. She inspires herself by observing individual experiences, and she creates a hyper-personal space for herself and her audience. The link between environmental ideas and social consciousness drives Justyna’s work.

Justyna’s piece, Haircut, evolves around her upbringing and experiences from her Polish roots. The images are taken from a filmed documentation of a Slavic tradition called ‘Postrzyzyna,’ where the first haircut marks a new chapter in life. This ritual was initially performed by people who are male-assigned at birth and are coming into adulthood. The ritual marks the passage from childhood and being under the mother’s care to transitioning into the father’s care. In Haircut, Justyna positions herself in the ‘Postrzyzyna’ ritual and enters adult life in her own way.

The images are taken in nature; young green grass dominates the landscape and underlines the meaning of youth and a new start. The artist hugs her hair, which almost becomes a second subject in portraying old-rooted traditions; or is Justyna objectifying herself while visualizing this gendered performance? The hair is merging with the grass, forming roots and having its own life, growing and almost breathing in Justyna’s embrace. They are holding each other in the moment of a goodbye, taking spaces of intimacy protected by the height of grass. Everything seems alive in these images: the human, the hair and the soil opened up with blades of grass.

In Justyna’s work, you can detect the inspiration from nature and daily life. The connections in which humans encounter each other in individualized routines and share a common ground on this earth. Justyna observes the world beyond and between the smallest cracks of everyday rhythms. Justyna’s artistic viewpoint can be seen in otherworldly observers like Patti Smith and the biologist Simona Kossak. There are inspiring similarities between the young Patti Smith and Justyna’s current work, especially looking at the poetic, self-reflective and critical approach to engaging with social expectations and norms.

Justyna Orlowska is an interdisciplinary performer who expresses her art through video and imagery. She is a visual artist and graduate of the Faculty of Sculpture and Intermedia, Academy of Fine Arts in Gdànsk, Poland. Justyna works with video, photography, installations, and performance. She has received various awards, including 1st place in the Umwelt competition for the project Relacje and Plant.BioLab in 2018, and 1st Grand Prix Award in the Digital Art Now competition at the international Digital_ia 14 festival in Szczecin in 2014.

Justyna Orlowska is the Silver Artist of the ArtAscent Emotions call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Emotions issue.

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