Tarrah Krajnak

September 7 – October 27, 2018

John F. Lott Gallery


Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru in 1979. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame in 2004. 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 L.A among others. In 2013 Ampersand Gallery & Fine Books published Krajnak's first book "South Sound" and it was named one of the best photobooks of the year by Time Magazine and Indie Library. Krajnak 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 L.A Review of Books, Nueva Luz, Camerawork, F-Stop Magazine, and Killing the Buddha. Krajnak has a forthcoming solo exhibition in December of 2017 at the Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, PA. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. She taught previously at Cornell University and the University of Vermont.

The late cultural theorist Stuart Hall has written that identities emerge as “unfinished conversations,” formed “at the unstable point where personal lives meet the narrative of history.” SISMOS79 (derived from the Spanish word for “earthquake”) is a long-term project that examines the particular sites of intersection between my own life and the turbulent period in the history of Lima, Peru circa 1979. 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 my birth mother was among them, one of many young women uprooted during that tectonic demographic shift. That’s almost all I know about her. Like her peers, she was vulnerable in a city that was a violent, dangerous place. 1979 was a year that created orphans. In SISMOS79 I set out not to recover some stable, “authentic” identity hidden by the circumstances of my 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 myself within it.