OKNA Gallery invites you to A FADA DO SALGUEIRO, a photo exhibition by Alina Zaharia curated by Vítor Nieves.

22 JUL – 05 AUG 2023
🔴 OPENING: 22.07.2023 (Sat), 19:00
Visiting hours: Ter/Tue- Sáb/Sat: 15:00 – 19:00
OKNa, Rua Igreja de Cedofeita 27, Porto

A Fada do Salgueiro can be the story of each one of us, a story that reveals moments that are repeated throughout life and that become a constant, a modus vivendi of continuous emotional journeys that make us transit over and over again through the same vital states.

Sometimes we reach a point in our journey where memories swirl to the point that past times seem to appear accordion-like, juxtaposing without obeying a univocal timeline, and we realise that we have always been grinding on the same stone, that all the problems we have encountered have always been the same. It is time to act, to fight against this barrier, or to accept it and live with it as best we can. This work invites a reflection on innocence, identity and the continuous fear of suffering.
The author tackles this work from the documentary language in order to order her memories, reconciling with the past and accepting her vulnerabilities in order to find her strengths. Although it is a work with an intimate approach, it is carried out with a universal grammar capable of mirroring any woman, regardless of the society in which she is raised, since the reality that affects them is transversal to any culture.

Alina Zaharia begins this photo essay as a revisit to her childhood experiences in Romania, occupying the spaces that have been marked in her memory, looking at family photos she hasn’t seen in years, going back to rites and traditions and reliving stories of the family environment. However, she does so at a time when she no longer wants to pass judgement or follow confrontation. She photographs from understanding and comprehension, realising that only a reconciliation with her surroundings and with the women she was, will bring new, flatter paths.

From this immersive journey, the author will realise how her childhood memories, more present than she thought, continued to manifest themselves throughout her life, wherever and whenever she was. Thus begins a second phase of the work in which, already emigrated in Portugal, she begins to relate the lines of the present and the past in a therapeutic loom that seeks to understand the constant repetitions of the chapter lived in the loop from Romania to Portugal.

Artist statement: Photographic work about some of the experiences I lived in Romania during my childhood, but which, transfigured, continued to be reflected in my adult life here in Portugal.
The idea for the project came about after one of my most recent visits to the village where I grew up, during which I witnessed the Christmas traditions. Curiously, I noticed that, by instinct, each photograph I took transported me to my childhood and revealed old memories. Diving deeper into these distant moments, I realised that, in one way or another, they continued to haunt me, like in a labyrinthine mirror. This trip, in which the photos were captured spontaneously and without a concrete intentionality, triggered a second phase of the project, in Portugal, where, in order to highlight the chronological repetition of the moments lived, the photographs were produced premeditatedly and with an intentional narrative. In a tenuous and loose way, I began to organise these images and to unveil the story of a woman who confronts, throughout time, concepts of authority, identity and adaptation.

The title was inspired by the Romanian legend “Fata din Dafin” (The Laurel Fairy), which tells the story of a fairy whose body was a laurel trunk and who falls in love with a prince. It was deliberately adapted to the name of a willow tree – which in Romanian translates as salcie – because this was the name of my parents’ village.

Alina Zaharia has lived in Portugal since 2008, when she came through an Erasmus scholarship in Management and Marketing, at ISCAP, in Porto, where she ended up staying. Always attracted by photography, in 2019 she is studying at the Basic Photography Course at the Institute of Cultural Production and Image (IPCI), in Porto. She is currently a student of the Master in Artistic Photography Course at IPCI in Lisbon, where she has lived since 2021.

For her, photography is the perfect tool to broaden the connections between Romania and Portugal, addressing humanistic and sociocultural themes, with the aim of making a difference between the two countries.

Interested in documentary language, she focuses on each project with a marked aesthetic that brings to light not only political issues, but also sensory and emotional ones.

She is currently working on a new project in which, through portraits, she addresses themes such as the integration and adaptation of the daily life of Romanians living in Portugal.


Supported by: Instituto Cultural Romeno Lisboa / IPCI – Instituto de Produção Cultural e Imagem