Alicja Rogalska is a Polish artist based in London. Her practice is interdisciplinary, with a focus on social structures and the political subtext of the everyday. Alicja has developed work for a range of organisations and institutions throughout the world. In 2016 she received an Artsadmin bursary for artists working in contemporary performance and in 2017 she will be an artist in residence at IASPIS in Stockholm and KulturKontakt in Vienna. Alicja is currently working with asylum seekers and refugees who trained as lawyers in their countries of origin, on a project exploring legal fictions within international migration law.
Alicja Rogalska’s work is rooted in the local context. Following an initial period of research, she creates participative situations and performances in collaboration with local specialists, from folk singers and board game enthusiasts, to farmers and lawyers. Alicja’s practice is both deeply poetic and decisively political, creating space for a variety of voices to be heard and to coexist, whilst collectively searching for emancipatory ideas for the future. Alicja grew up on a small farm in North-East Poland. The farm is still run by her family and she spends most of her holidays there. Farming and food production is featured in a number of her previous projects, including ‘Cultivation’ and ‘Broniow Song’ in Poland and ‘Reap, Glean, Garner’ in Colombia.
So far Alicja has developed two key projects her residency. 'Agri-care' will see a prize for the best migrant workers’ employer in the agricultural sector on Jersey created in collaboration with the workers. The strategy and criteria for the prize will be developed through a series of discussions with the primarily Polish manual labourers exploring their labour conditions, experiences and expectations. During each session the workers will make clay potatoes relying on their tactile memory. Jersey Royals are Jersey’s biggest produce export, accounting for around 70% of agricultural turnover and every potato industry worker in Jersey handles tonnes of potatoes every season; planting, harvesting, sorting and packing. The clay potatoes and the workers’ stories will be presented and distributed to the public using custom made honesty boxes and a video will be produced showing the process. One of the clay models made during the discussions voted as the ideal potato will be cast in bronze and incorporated into the trophy given as the prize to the best employer.
The labour of migrant workers on Jersey has been an important part of the island economy for more than 150 years, yet their presence on the island remains largely undocumented, from Breton farm workers to the more recent waves of Portuguese, Polish and Romanian economic migrants. Current documentation is limited to marketing material created by industry representatives and employers, or staged photo opportunities with local media outlets. The Jersey Migrant Workers Archive aims to fill the gap in visual representation of the migrant workforce on the island. Drawn from the private archives of the workers, images and videos showing their work, living conditions, and leisure pursuits will be gathered, catalogued and incorporated into the Jersey Photographic Archives. An important aspect of the archive is the self-representation of the workers’ lives, allowing them to take the lead in presenting their own image. The Archive will be made available to researchers, journalists, artists and anybody interested, while a public showcase is planned in 2018.
These projects are constantly developing, and we will soon be updating this page with new information about Alicja's interaction with the island as it continues in 2018.