The land we belong

The land we belong

On 24th May 2012, I received a Facebook message from Mrs. Irma Ziepel Cucat, a daughter of economic immigrants from Argentina.

“Hi, do you speak Spanish? My mom was born in Vrtojba in 1916, her last name is Lasic Angela Carla, and she is buried in Argentina. Last name of my grandmother is Cernic. The last name of other relatives is Faganel. Best wishes, Irma Cucat from Argentina”

At the beginning of the 20th century, many people from Europe left their homelands. Slovenes were no exception. Between the both World Wars, around 100.000 Slovenians fled from poor economic conditions or political oppression in search for freedom and better living conditions. At the beginning of the 1930s, two young people left their homes and went to Argentina. The woman was from Vrtojba (my home village) and the man from the village nearby. They left separately, each in their own way. In Argentina (their new homeland), however, their paths were united and soon they created a new life together in a multicultural metropolis.

After nearly eighty years, their daughter started researching her roots and seeking people in her parents’ homeland. Amongst others, she also found me. Thus began a virtual friendship between two women from different parts of the world (Buenos Aires, Argentina and Vrtojba, Slovenia), of different ages and with different life experiences. But we had something in common – the country.

I take photographs. She writes about my village, although she has never been here. There are a lot of things she knows from the stories of her parents.

In 2016, I decided to go to Argentina and meet her. I went in a similar way as her parents did, namely, by crossing thousands of miles over the ocean to get to the “promised land”. I took a small wooden suitcase containing photographs with me and some Slovenian soil, which we are both connected to, each in our own way.



The problem of survival also served as the starting point for the Microcosm project (2015), her new-media project which includes a series of photographs and an overhead projection component. While searching for her first job, she relied on the family business and started cultivating vegetables. However, she soon learned that, despite the fast-growing demand for organic food, people still prefer to buy imported vegetables, which appeal with their low prices and perfect appearance, with quality, taste and nutritional value deemed secondary considerations.

It is clear that the Microcosm project, which includes photographs and an overhead projection, represents a step forward in her creative work, not only in terms of combining different media but also with regard to the subject chosen. Unlike her previous projects, Microcosm does not reflect aspects of everyday life; it is instead a photographic still-life which puts “hidden” life to the fore. The photographs show the decay of the food, comparing imported vegetables with vegetables she cultivated in her own greenhouse. She noticed that, despite being imported almost from the other side of the world, the supermarket vegetables remained fresh for much longer than their home-grown counterparts.

The author took photographs of the decaying vegetables in natural light and on a perfectly neutral white surface in order to better emphasise the changes in structure, colour and shape caused by the decay. At the same time she presents the decaying as a natural process that is an inevitable part of the life of all organisms, but goes mostly unnoticed, intentionally ignored and pushed to the back of our thoughts. Images of decay actually very often make us feel uncomfortable, anxious and resistant as they remind us how fleeting human life is.

However, the relationship between life and death is not the only topic that our minds associate with disreputable imagery. With her project the artist also asks viewers to consider contemporary issues regarding global management, self-sufficiency and the human exploitation of the planet. In her opinion, humanity has become completely estranged from nature, which is evident not only by the supermarkets that cover vast areas of arable land in the suburbs, but also by the sad fact that more and more people have no understanding as to how food is produced.

The photographs are accompanied by an overhead projection comprising photographs of the microstructure of decaying vegetables. The author selected the compositions with care and sharpened the resolution of only certain parts of the images; this resulted in highlighted colour contrasts in some parts and the dynamic structure of “live” surfaces or fine light effects in others. Through this approach, she embellished non-aesthetic images we would initially consider to be just undefined organic matter as opposed to decaying crops.

The projection is an integral component in the project. The rapid display of imagery creates a vivid and dramatic effect in the space provided, and is intended to reflect the speed of modern life. But that is not all; the photographs of the vegetable textures are projected onto huge rocks on which the viewers can sit, thereby interacting with the art installation. In this way, the artist encourages viewers to critically ponder the destruction of the environment because, in her opinion, the fate of humanity is inextricably linked with that of the natural world.


Nataša Kovšca

My name is Maša

My name is Maša

This series is an autobiographical work, where I expose myself as a woman and an “emerging” artist. It presents a battle of internal forces. On one hand, I am thinking about my own meaning of life, where creating offers the possibility of realizing the essence, and I am considering the involvement of women artists in the social sphere on the other hand. Acceptance of artist’s role goes hand in hand with the current social climate and especially its perception of art as an essential tool for the identification of one nation.

A hard work during studies should indicate a turning point in author’s life that should catapult him or her towards new experiences and give him or her an opportunity to co-create the society in which he or she lives. Instead, I was thrown in the condition of “no air” – “I feel like someone is pushing me under water while I’m trying to get some air.” My experiences and feelings after graduation encouraged me to think about the role of female artists in society. Would I be asking for too much, if I wanted to become “someone” one day? I wonder what it feels like to “be someone with the Name” in the enormous social macrocosm.

The work “My name is Masha” is a series of photographs that gives an intimate reflection of the feelings I am encountering and of desire to create a dialogue with the society. The photos show glimpses of my everyday life – a portrait, the presence of my shadows or objects that surround me.

I before myself

I before myself

This series is an autobiographical piece of work dedicated to the period when I was not here yet, but I was present – as a fetus in my mother’s body. The title and the unfocused images reflect the emotions and feelings of the period before my birth. Naturally, I do not remember that time, but I have learned about it from the stories of others.

Part of images presents staged portraits and even one self-portrait. That is important for the proper development of the story. Other photos reflect events that happened during the time I was in the womb. The whole story is about the connection of two levels, namely real, actual events, and those on the symbolic level.

Between the worlds

Between the worlds

This is a story about a dancer Eva. Eva was born in Kranj (Slovenia). Soon after her birth, it was confirmed she had Down syndrome. Persistent parents tried to do everything in their power to enable Eva live as normal life as possible. They also encouraged her to maximize her independence. They noticed her talent for dancing in her early age, so they enrolled her in a dance school.She studied ballet, jazz ballet, modern dance, contemporary dance and continued with show dance. Numerous dancing performances that Eva has accomplished in her career so far, throughout Slovenia and at various occasions, including those on the highest state level, are the ultimate evidence that she is an exceptional dancer.

The Metamorphosis

The metamorphosis

Circus activity has a very long history which started already in the Ancient Rome, but it has changed through time. The photographic series represents the Italian school of modern circus that unites young people with love for acrobatics and magic. Although the circus seems like magic, hard work is needed to transform dreams into reality. During this process body loses its own and appropriates other images.

Life on the border

Life on the border

This is the story about the border. Not a high, stone border nor an iron border. This is a thin line which separates “the better from the worse” and “the big from the small”. It is a border in the mind, set by the people. Series of photos named “Life on the border” represents lives of three communities in the northeastern part of Slovenia.

Gypsies, older people and disabled persons (with special needs) all share the same feature; they live on “the other side of the border”. They are considered as some kind of foreign bodies in the society. “Normal” people do not care who these people are and how they feel. They limit and isolate them, because they do not meet the “normal standards”.

In this story, I try to present these groups of people in their own environment without prejudices, see them as they are – special and unique. And the border that once existed magically disappears.


I tried to exploit a cold January evening, so I went to Trieste to see an exhibition of Koudelka and the movie Koudelka Shooting Holy Land in Trieste.


Since I was absent for the opening of the exhibition – Young Visual Artists in Goriška, I went to see it with a slight delay…