Tarrah Krajnak Sismos

Dec 1, 2017–Feb 17, 2018
Silver Eye Center for Photography
Aaronel Deroy Gruber & Irving Gruber Gallery
4808 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

1979 was a time of seismic changes in Peru’s capital, a transitional period between the military dictatorship of the 70s, and the onset of the Shining Path’s guerilla war in 1980. The city’s population swelled and was transformed by a massive influx of rural migrants from the highlands and eastern jungles; and artist Tarrah Krajnak’s birth mother was among them--one of many young women uprooted during that tectonic demographic shift. That’s almost all Krajnak knew about her mother. Like her peers, she was vulnerable in a city that was a violent, dangerous place. 1979 was a year that created orphans.

In SISMOS, Krajnak sets out not to recover some stable, “authentic” identity hidden by the circumstances of her birth and adoption, but rather to pull together archival materials, found photographs, untold narratives, and images in an effort to patch together, reclaim, and invent something like a psychic history of that year, and locate herself within it.

Participating Artist

  1. Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru in 1979. She received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame. She currently lives and works in Claremont, CA. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at: Art13 London, Art Basel Miami, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Center for Photography Woodstock, San Francisco Camerawork, Newspace Center for Photography, Columbus Museum of Art, The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, and Metropcs Gallery LA among others. She received grants from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Vermont Council for the Arts, The Vermont Community Foundation, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Her work has appeared in both print and online magazines including the L.A Review of Books, Nueva Luz, and Camerwork. Krajnak is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at Pitzer College and Director of the Monroe Center for Social Inquiry on Racial Justice. She was awarded the 2020 Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize and was a 2020 Light Work Artist in Residence. Her monograph will be published with DIAS books in 2021.

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