Jadwiga Brontē (b.1986) is Polish photojournalist, documentary photographer and videographer, covering social and cultural issues around the World. Her work is a relationship between human identity, otherness and visual representation, all with traces of politics and humanity. Her latest project tells a story of hidden people living in Belarusian governmental institutions for disabled people and Chernobyl victims. Her story was widely published and presented in BBC World News. She gained her BA in Photography from Kingston University London and MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from LCC/University of the Arts London. Jadwiga leaves and works in London.
Invisible People of Belarus is a documentary project about the lives of disabled people and Chernobyl victims living in governmental institutions in Belarus. These institutions are known as internats and function as something between an orphanage, asylum, and hospice. Internats often exhibit glaring deficiencies in terms of how they care for their residents: very little physical or educational therapy is offered; there are few opportunities for recreational activities; and the right to a private life is not respected, with romantic relationships between residents prohibited. Integration within the local community is virtually non-existent. Their location makes it difficult for the families that would like to stay in touch with their children to visit. Some are located in very rural areas and with almost no public transport links. All internats are either fenced off or walled. This separation stands as a metaphor for the way disability is thought about in Belarus: misunderstood and better shut away.