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Ideas & Inspiration

Museum of Family Memories by Marcela Paniak

Museum of Family Memories

Elderly of the family connect us to our history, passing down stories and anecdotes. These stories are preserved  and shared as families’ collective memories. With time, old memories appear like dreams from another lifetime – distant yet familiar. Revisiting them is comforting but also reminds us of the inevitability of time. We seek to hold on to some of these memories and preserve them in stories, art, photographs and writing.

Polish photographer Marcela Paniak’s work deals with these ideas of memory and family history. While visiting the decaying home of her ageing grandmother, Marcela rediscovers some of her abandoned clothes and belongings. She photographs herself dressed in her grandmother’s old clothes. In this series of diptychs, she pairs the self-portraits with images of old objects. She choses not to photograph her grandmother but instead travel through time to experience an imagined past. Marcela creates her museum of memories.


Text and photos by Marcela Paniak

Genevieve is the name which I could give my grandmother; dignified, lofty, beautiful and it does not suit to my grandmother at all. Grandma Gienia lives in an old house that is too big and too important to have anything changed so the walls turn into ruin and the rooms into lumber. My memories and my childhood are blurred somewhere in the corners of the walls and in the backyard bushes, they turn into dust covering the furniture and the old toys. Nowhere else do I feel so much at home as there. Grandma and I are becoming more and more similar to each other – as inseparable school friends. Now I am back to this place trying to stop time however I know that it will never work.

These photographs are the pictures of me which I shot myself in the house; dressed in old found clothes together with some abandoned items which are rediscovered by me. I join them, try to be compatible and I dream of being back in times that no longer exist.

genevieve-1 genevieve-2

genevieve-3 genevieve-4 genevieve-5 (1) genevieve-6 genevieve-7 genevieve-8 genevieve-9 genevieve-10

Born in 1991, Marcela Paniak is a photographer and artist. Her work can be viewed here.


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