The NOT SURRENDERING exhibition by Mariusz Śmiejek, together with the photo book under the same title, is a summary of over 10 years of observation of the post-conflict reality of Northern Ireland. It is a visual story not only about the struggle of loyalists for their own identity, but also about the everyday life of the British working class and members of its illegal paramilitary groups.
19/05 – 10/06/2023
The author uncompromisingly introduces us to the living space of the heroes of the observed world, talking about the specificity of the “cage architecture”, which has one task: to separate the British from the Irish. The NOT SURRENDERING space is also a psychological state of being under siege by the inhabitants of working-class districts and the atmosphere of hopelessness accompanying successive generations imprisoned morally and mentally
in the unresolved traumas of the past, from which they fail to free themselves.
Both the exhibition and Mariusz Śmiejek’s photo book have a chance to bring the observers closer to the knowledge about the processes of integration of post-conflict societies, divided with each other for territorial, national and religious reasons. An important theme of the presented photographs are also the realities of working with difficult youth from families directly involved in the conflict, recruited to paramilitary organizations
or organized crime groups. April 2023 marked the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement officially ending the conflict in Northern Ireland. NOT SURRENDERING is an original project created in 2010-2020.
Mariusz Śmiejek – independent documentary photographer, since 2011 lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She comes from Gniezno. In his photography, he mainly deals with long-term social topics, including everyday life in post-conflict Northern Ireland (2010-2020) and the causes and effects of migration from West Africa to Europe (2017-2022). Winner of many prestigious awards and distinctions in Poland and abroad, e.g. National Geographic magazine (2011, 2012, 2015) Grand Press Photo (2017, 2018), IPA in the USA and Sony World Photo Award. Author of many individual and collective exhibitions in the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Hong Kong, Ghana and Poland. He teaches photography in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Ghana.