Ioana Vrabie - International Fine Art Analogue Multiple Exposures  Photographer - Based in Barcelona

Vital Breath
"Lungs are trees dangling from the sky"

solo exhibition & reforestation project


We slip into this World upside down and with a loud scream we announce our arrival, while letting the first breath to flush our lungs with air and life.

Depending on the availability and strength of the arms that are there to welcome us while we are turning in the upright position, we can experience a soft, a hard, sometimes even a crash landing, in a place supposedly called “home”.

The closer that place is to a Locus Amoenus (an idyllic and pleasant place), the easier it will be for us to trust life, to breathe relaxed, to surrender and allow these human arms – which we perceive as divine - to hold and shelter us like the maternal womb used to do, and to gently support our transition from the inside to the outside.

In this scenario, we can grow and reach our full potential: straight and strong like large trees, with deep roots drinking the nectar of the soil of the ancestors and with huge branches stretching high to be kissed by the Sun.

Our trunk develops solid and flexible to bend and not break and it is well protected by the bark, ready to face all the different weather conditions.

We can communicate with confidence, giving and receiving from our environment, in a constructive way, knowing who we are and what we need. We are well planted.

For some of us the family nest is a noisy and messy place, with no clear support, guidance and answers to our questions about life. We seek information and attention with enthusiasm and curiosity; after a few failed attempts and incoherent responses, we start an internal dialogue that keeps spinning in our heads. It feels like, apart from ourselves, no one is listening and there’s no one to trust.

The limits between inside and outside, between what is real and what is a fantasy become blurred and we end up struggling to perceive where also our personal boundaries lie: we don’t know who we are and what we need, how to give and how to receive. Better to avoid speaking and isolate in silence. We look around, trying to “read” and make sense of a chaotic reality.

We wish we had a magic cape to disappear!

Down deep inside we just want to escape, without knowing where. We are dreaming of a beautiful, peaceful place where we can be heard and accepted, so we leave the nest and we keep flying non-stop over different lands and different seas, studying faces and landscapes.

We dangle from the sky with our roots sinking into the air. And we swing over the terrestrial surface like a pendulum, until we realise that nothing is good enough or would be as good as the home we’ve never had.

Then we come to the conclusion that we have no other choice left but to make the decision to land somewhere and to stop holding our breath to finally plant ourselves and relax into growing.

Barcelona is the place I chose for my landing and where I arrived to stay, just a few days before the lockdown that started in March 2020.

It was an intimation to stop and my aerial roots got symbolically cut by the imposition of the face mask.

This exhibition is a retrospective of my artistic, psychological and existential path of self-discovery.

A way of investigating life through photography.

By looking outside through the camera lens I have actually got to see my inner world: photography opened the door to that home that has always existed within me, but which I did not know how to access because I hadn’t found the key yet.

I looked for my home everywhere, understanding in the end that it does not depend on the site and that it can be found anywhere; because it resides in the Vital Breath that pushes us into this world, anchors us to nature through a symbiotic process of giving and receiving that roots us to the Earth.

It is enough to learn to trust that Vital Breath, choose the upright position and allow the lungs to keep dangling from the sky.

© IOANAVRABIE, Ioana Vrabie, “Vital Breath – Lungs are trees dangling from the sky” VisualKorner, May 2021


My personal life story - which is the base of the exhibition statement - taught me that there is just one "home" for all of us and that all the difficulties we experience in our daily lives are mainly due to a lack of healthy communication and boundaries that lead to an imbalance between giving and receiving.

To reestablish this equilibrium it is time to start giving back to Mother Nature and make our home a greener place.

That's why I have decided to plant trees for every artwork and poster sold during and after this exhibition as follows:

- 50x40 cm     poster = 1 tree planted
- 30x45 cm     Limited Edition Fine Art Print = 10 trees planted
- 60x90 cm     Limited Edition Fine Art Print = 20 trees planted
- 31,2x160 cm  Limited Edition Fine Art Print = 25 trees planted
- 90x135 cm    Limited Edition Fine Art Print = 40 trees planted

Every person receives a  One Tree Planted reforestation certificate.

So far more than 100 trees have been planted around the World :)

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