Both works explore personal themes rooted in the artist's Polish ancestry, placed amidst wider considerations of national identity, migration and global economics.
The exhibition is made up of a series of large, square-format analogue photographs; a text booklet and wall-mounted quotations, alongside an installation of slide projection. The artist uses a range of photographic tropes, from clandestine snapshots to formal portraiture, from ethnography to street photography, from serial to aerial views in an attempt to understand Poland, the place, and the Poland that lives in the minds of those who have left.
Polonia carries two different meanings: an early allegory of state and the Polish community abroad. Polonia and Other Fables is the story of a Polish American returning to the land of his paternal grandparents. But it is not a nostalgic story, nor is it a tidy autobiography, rather Sekula uses his private micro-history as an opportunity to reflect on wider social issues; economic conditions and the effects of the free market economy; post-communist Polish/American relations; dubious corporate machinations, and national identity, symbols and ideology.
Walking on Water was produced by Sekula during his first visit to Poland in the winter of 1990. Presented in the form of slide projections, the work observes Poland amidst changes which led to its entry to NATO and to the European Union in 2004.