Aldona Kmiec is an award winning, Polish-born Australian photographic artist based in Ballarat and Melbourne. After finishing photography studies in London, she has relocated to Australia and launched her artistic practice soon after. Growing up through the transformation of Poland from the communist to a democratic country, she has had an interest in music, languages and art, but it wasn’t until she began travelling that she picked up photography as her full-time work. Being exposed to a hardship of a dairy farm has taught her a lot of resilience and influenced her work.
Aldona uses the medium of photography to document daily life, Ballarat stories and her friends. Merging experience with creativity, she has a gift of capturing the mood and the ambience of remote landscapes and translate it to unique artworks. She lives and travels between Gippsland, Melbourne and Ballarat.
Her artworks have been featured on The Design Files, The Block 2019, B H & G and Australian Country Magazine. She is a finalist of Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women, Bowness Photography Prize, Winner and Finalist of Eureka Art Awards, Head On Photo Festival amongst others. View her Artist CV here.
Here’s her short story…
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, 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, with my eyes wide open from fear and excitement, listening to stories being told, stories of war relived once more.