Citizens of Nowhere

Zula Rabikowska

Citizens of Nowhere is a personal response to the 2016 Brexit referendum. I was born in Poland and moved to the UK as a child with my family in 2001. As a Polish woman in London, I explore the experience of immigrant life in the UK. To imprint the physicality of living on the British Isles into the image I soaked the film in English Channel saltwater. This results in distortion, visually mimicking the process of "naturalisation" and the degree of erosion of immigrant identity.

Physical journeying underpins any migration journey, and to incorporate movement in my work I printed out the analogue portraits and created an animation. As a result, the portraits are in constant flux, forever changing and adapting, like my family’s identity in the UK. In the project, I combine portraits with interviews in Polish and English, which reflect my dual sense of belonging.

Artist biography

Zula Rabikowska is a Polish photographer based in London. Zula was born in Poland, grew up in the UK and worked in France, China, South Africa, India, Palestine and the Caribbean. Her practice is influenced by her own experience of immigration and in her work, she explores themes of national identity, displacement and belonging. Zula often works with digital and analogue photography and incorporates archival images and alternative processes to challenge conventional visual story-telling norms. Zula has obtained an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from London College of Communication and works as a freelance photographer in London.