About the series: Požega Penitentiary is the only female prison in Croatia where more than 130 prisoners serve their prison sentences of six months or more. Croatian law states that photographing or filming of prisoners is allowed only in a way in which they cannot be identified.
Historical forensic portraits in their depictions delete everything except the criminal identity. I try to show the complex way of these women’s lives, deprived of their liberty, by photographing existing scenes in dormitories, cells, bathrooms, ‘personal items’ and their invisible traces.
I cover topics such as womanhood, intimacy, motherhood, home, and surveillance and architecture, in order to emphasise the traces of the presence of women inside the prison.
I question the notion of freedom inside and outside of supervisory institutions, while comparing it with a family home, which is often a model under which the prison system operates that is for a purpose of the ‘re-education of women’. According to many feminist theories, a family home is the central social scene in which a woman is simultaneously the subject and the object of control. But if a home looks like a prison, how then do we perceive a public institution in which prisoners serve their sentences?
About the Photographer: Marina Paulenka was born in Vinkovci, Croatia. She received her MA degree in Graphic Design from the University of Zagreb. Currently, she is in her final year of the MA photography program at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. She is a member of HDLU (Croatian artists’ associations) and HDD (Croatian Association of Designers).
She participated in the NOOR Nikon Masterclass (2014). She won the Photonic Moments Portfolio Review 2014 at Month of Photography in Slovenia. She was nominated for Erste Fragments (2014), ESSL ART AWARD CEE (2015), and T-HT@MSU (2015) Award for Croatian contemporary art. Her work has been exhibited and presented numerous times in Croatia and abroad.
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