Beyond the Veil
Beyond the Veil series portrays the private moments in the lives of Catholic Nuns in Chicago. At the end of the XIX century, Polish Nuns arrived in small numbers to greet the growing wave of Polish immigrants and their families. The Felician Sister, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and The Sisters of the Resurrection opened schools, hospitals, orphanages and retirement centers. They provided much needed assistance to emigrants and played a major role in preserving the heritage of the Polish immigrant community in Chicago throughout the XX century.
Many of the Sisters in the photographs have known each other and lived together for the majority of their lives. They were teachers, nurses, political activist, chefs and artists. “They served the need of their time” and now the number of sisters is growing smaller and older. The Sisters who I have met are women who made the choice to serve God by serving others through contemplation and action. Getting to know them and following the rhythm of their daily activities – from moments of contemplation, prayer or religious service, to moments of afternoon bingo or an evening card game – revealed glimpses of our shared human experience.
About Iwona Biedermann
Iwona Biedermann was born in Poland. She studied photography at Columbia College and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1990. Biedermann’s photographic work includes documentary, editorial, portraiture and fine art. She has also taught photography privately as well as for nonprofit youth organizations and was a visiting artist at Columbia College and Loyola University.
Her photographs have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines including the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, The Reader, In These Times, Screen Magazine, New City, Newsweek, Real Simple, Time-Out and various Chicago-based Polish media. Her work has been published in Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United States.
Recognized through many awards, (Individual Artist Support Initiative, Illinois Art Council 2012, Artist Fellowship, Illinois Art Council 2007, Commission from Public Art Program 2002, Illinois Humanities Council Grant 2001, City of Cultural Affairs Grant 1997, Eddie Adams Workshop 1995, Weisman Scholarship 1985/1986) her work has also been a part of many exhibitions including Beyond the Veil at the Polish Museum of America in 2002, Catholic Chicago at Chicago History Museum in 2008 and Between the Lines of Beauty, Think Art Salon in 2011. Solo exhibitions include Divine DisComfort at Arsenal Gallery, Poznan, Poland in 1999 and Elmhurst Museum in 1998.
In 2003, Biedermann opened the DreamBox Foto Studio and DreamBox Gallery in Chicago. Its mission is to create, inspire and be inspired by cultural exchange between artists and their creative currency: Word | Image | Idea.
Website: Iwona Biedermann Photography