Originally from Transylvania (Romania), Ioana Vrabie (Joan Sparrow) grew up as a third culture kid in Tuscany (Italy), living in a permanent state of tension between two opposite extremes: the communist values of her family (recognition through excellence in school studies) and the capitalist ones of her new social context (recognition through materialistic achievements).
She experienced rejection, isolation and a sense of inadequacy and entrapment in both environments, deeply missing to feel at home and rooted in any real place.
In absence of a friendly context for self-expression, she developed mental (avid studies) and visual contemplation (eye-scapism) as a tool for relaxation and escapism from a tormented environment and from pre-packed imposed identities that she did not resonate with.
She was dreaming all the time of a better, new reality, where to feel at home and peace.
At the age of 19 she physically escaped "home" and moved to Milan to work as a flight attendant for Lauda Air: for eight restless years she experienced numerous travels that helped her to get out of the shell and witness the beauty of the infinite possibilities of life.
While working as flight attendant, she graduated in Science of Communication at Università degli Studi di Udine (Italy), and, in the last years, she developed a passion for photography.
At the end of her flight career, she applied and got admitted to the University of Arts in London, where she moved to and studied Photography.
Initially attracted by the creative potential of fashion photography, she ended up disappointed and drained when she got to know what the standard in the field was in terms of language (hyper sexualisation of teenage models) and manipulation of the images (projection of an idealized perfection) through long hours of digital retouching.
She got interested into a more realistic approach to photography and she started to work at the camera club Photofusion (London), where she received from a stranger many expired film rolls as a providential gift.
After four years living in London, in 2014, she started travelling again, this time with an analogue camera and the above mentioned films, driven by the desire to capture a reality that does not need retouching.
Her long life desire for escapism was so profound that it became a desire for ubiquity: this propelled her to collect a huge amount of experiences and courses in different places, seeking a sense of peace and release of her inbuilt state of tension.
Just to mention some of them: yoga teacher training (India), singing classes (Italy and Spain), assistance of a buddhist reincarnated monk in mandala and meditation classes (Bali), sound healing courses (Bali and Ireland), water massage training (Ibiza).
During this voyage she instinctively started to shoot multiple exposure photographs, finally feeling a sense of liberation.
She realized only later that she was feeling trapped in one perspective of reality by capturing just one image and that she needed at least two, to represent her state of physical and mental perpetual swinging between one truth and another, between a departure and an arrival.
The search for a new reality through eye-scapism generated mesmeric landscapes: visual trips between two or more layers of memories, that universally represent episodes of the ceaseless human life journey, a refuge from daily struggles into the beauty of dreams.
She currently resides in Ibiza, the European paradise of escapism, from where she keeps travelling to develop her projects.
Her work is present in private collections all around the World.
In September 2016 she was one of the selected artists of It's Art Call @DContemporary in Mayfair, London.
In January 2019 she was one of the selected artists of Arteles residency "Silence, Awareness, Existence" in Haukijarvi, Finland.
Portrait by Alexandro Pelaez
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