Unknown – Question Mark

Regensburg, © Krista Svalbonas

Unknown – Question Mark

Krista Svalbonas

This talk will highlight Krista Svalbonas’ two most recent bodies of work focusing on the history of the Baltic states surrounding WWII. Displacement, traces former Baltic WWII displaced person camps in Germany and the refugees that inhabited these spaces. To honor their struggles, she uses archived copies of the plea letters the Baltic refugees sent. Krista merges these painful accounts with photographs through a process of burning, an echo of the traumas of war the refugees had endured.

What Remains combines Krista’s photographs of Soviet architecture in the Baltic region with traditional Baltic textile designs. She uses a laser cutter to cut the textile patterns directly onto her black and white photographs of the cold and imposing buildings. This series explores the power of folk art and crafts as a form of defiance against the Soviet occupiers.


Krista Svalbonas’ work has been shown in numerous exhibitions internationally, including the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Spartanburg Art Museum, Copenhagen Photo Festival, Augsburg Museum of Textile and Industry in Germany and Klompching Gallery in New York. Her work is included in the collections of the Cesis Art Museum in Latvia, the Gregg Museum of Art and Design in North Carolina and Woodmere Art Museum and Temple University  and numerous private collections. She is an associate professor of photography at St. Joseph’s University. She holds a BFA in Photography and an MFA in Interdisciplinary studies. She lives and works in Philadelphia.