Who do you think you are?

by | Apr 5, 2021 | Everyday, Home, Identity, Photography, Stamina, Storytelling | 0 comments

Happy Easter to all who celebrate it!

Every Easter I visit my parents in my hometown. I was raised in a Catholic family and I went through questioning its rules and agenda. Today I am rather a spiritual seeker, interested in truth and its modifications and manifestations. Sometimes I see myself reading every day the whole day, with a thirsty look in my eye and a hungry mind or Mind (this one is rather free from ego) to find the sense of it all! Haha!

In these few days while spending time with my parents and my grandma of 88 years, I always go through a self-rhetorical programme of requestioning my Self, what I do, my accomplishments and mistakes, and more. There is nothing like family to bring you down or up! One of the juicy details I will share is that my father still tells me that I do not know anything! I have hard time accepting the way he says it so I guess there is still a way to go, to learn how to accept what seems or who seems of being not acceptable. Hard to digest that cookie, I know! Everyone needs a bit of spine bending, my friend Nicolina would say.

oggie dog in behind frame

Photo: Ivana Filip, “Oggie”, 2005

So, in the morning after my morning routine, I sit down in a small kitchen where my grandma spends the most of her time, cooking and watching TV. I drink coffee with my mama and my grannie and their stories evolve, about others, our family, goods and bads, our ancestors, ourselves. It is warm and cosy. The wood in the stove is cracking and singing its song, the sipping of the coffee and the singing of birds in our backyard, drifts me away. And so, I lay down on the sofa and stretch my legs into my mother’s lap while she caresses me.

My grannie tells how she didn’t want to marry the guy her mother had intended for her and how she had known my grandfather for 2.5 years before he asked her to marry her. He didn’t come to her village during winter times for he needed to walk through muddy paths for 8 km one way. There were just a few cars and hardly any roads in 50’s. Her mother went crazy about their plan and didn’t want to meet him at all the first time he introduced himself in their house. The whole village spoke and that she was moving to the city to live in the apartment, which was shame. Her father supported her and approved my grandfather as a smart and hardworking man. And he was. They rented a small apartment in a house. My grandfather worked at jobs, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. My grandma cared for home and my father. Then they bought a plot to build the house and walked 6 km every day one way and the other way the same, after the whole day of hard work and building their house with a few workers. After a time, they rented a room to stay closer to the plot while building every day. They managed to get a loan with one salary and moved finally after a year into their house, while water was still dripping of the wet walls.

Therefore, whenever I spend some time with my family, I wonder about my life and how weak I often feel in today’s society, unadjusted to its cruel arrangements and capitalistic norms. For artists this might be a usual conclusion. What occurs to me is that I am neither an artist neither I am not, I am neither an economic neither I am not, neither I have money neither I do not, neither here neither there but still I am. Neither I am with Others neither alone. We overidentify too often with our shadows. We think small and feed our egos, small of big, frightened or overpowered. Too often we give up because we think we cannot and indeed, we cannot with the same mind that constricts. Einstein said that the mind who created the problem cannot solve the problem.

We all are riding in a way we think we should but; how about acknowledging all those who rode the paths before us, our ancestors, mothers, fathers, uncles, cousins, friends, human, non-human, forests, mushrooms, crickets, spiders, who all have been here before and have prepared this road for us? Oh, it feels immediately easier to walk the path and breath…because neither we are the first neither we are the last. We are also hopefully making a bed of steps for Others who are yet to arrive.

And so, as I have started this adventure of art entrepreneurship and feel scared of how’s and must’s, I know there are many to consult and try. So, what is the worst-case scenario? I could end up living again with my parents, or end up living in a street, or have to separate from my partner,…it sounds scary but there are many who already live in such a way. And while I acknowledge my privileges, I look at the mirror and try that mirror work…every day counts.

Small steps baby, one after another…uh, bump the but, stand up again, walk…one tiny ssssssssteep…

Love and thanks,


Ivana Filip’s collection of works and products is inspired by her research, affect and close coexistence with nonhumans. Works in the shop as such represent the extension of her artistic practice. Hopefully these artworks and products can contribute to your richer experience and relationship with nonhumans or perhaps make your dear one jollier. Every month we shall donate 10% of our monthly income to a non-profit dedicated to the protection of nonhumans in Croatia.

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