Kaja Rata. Kajnikaj

Sometimes I have the feeling that everything is about to cave in. That the houses, grey from soot, and the broken pavements will collapse into the mine corridors underneath. I live in a small town in Silesia, and even if something interesting was going on here once, it was so long ago that it has been buried in memory forever. The town is neither nice, nor ugly. There is no heritage left by previous generations, nor even any sign of fancy among the present ones. Were it not for the dead mine towers spearing up into the air, my town might lie anywhere. Or rather kajnikaj.

Kajnikaj is an adverb meaning “here and there” in the Silesian dialect. If we use it, my place will become a little less “here and there”. This is an obvious form of coming to terms with the reality I live in, allowing me to build upon it and create a kind of mythology.

Looking at the sky above the declining city and constructing my rickety machines, I am seeking a way out of the place where I was born and raised.

And yet I know full well that my endeavours are doomed to failure.


Kaja Rata (1987, Poland) was born and lives in Silesia. In 2015 she graduated in photography with a bachelor’s degree at the University of Arts in Poznań. In the same year she joined the Sputnik Photos Mentoring Programme in Warsaw, where she worked on her Kajnikaj project. Having completed the programme, she began photography studies at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava.