Belarussian born photographer and visual artist Alena Kakhanovich creates work that examines transformation in times of crisis. Her projects are typically long term and combine the subjects of art, psychology and photography. Kakhanovich focuses on the processes going on in her subject's inner world. Her series Sleeping Garden explores the metamorphosis of our souls in times of crisis when life stops like a sleeping garden. This body of work was inspired by Kakhanovich's personal experience trying to find her way out of a period of depression. While analyzing her own life, Kakhanovich began to photograph other females who had a similar experience. "What we all had in common was that we all felt like we were living in stories that were not written by or about us, while ours were lost somewhere in the high grass." Kakhanovich's subjects explore their own sadness enmeshed in natural elements and often mixed with items typically found indoors.
Kakhanovich placed her heroines in their own sleeping gardens and photographed them in a way that reflected upon their mental state. Photographing her heroines in this way shows the viewer that this difficult and melancholy time, though painful, is also a beautiful and poetic part of being human. When in these moments, it's not easy to see the beauty. Kakhanovich's work allows us to peek back later and see it. Kakhanovich believes that to awaken from one's own sleeping garden we have to work through difficult moments and re-evaluate our values to discover the root of our unhappiness. Once we do this, we can then work towards self acceptance and overcome our fears. Working on this series brought about an awareness for Kakhanovich which was the beginning of a long and challenging pilgrimage towards self happiness.
Kakhanovich resides in Warsaw, Poland. Her work can be found on her website or on Instagram. Her work has been exhibited internationally to include the Caelum Gallery (USA), Center for Contemporary Art (Belarus) Helsinki Photo Festival (Finland) and Galerie Huit (France). Her work is in the collection at the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art in Japan.