Nothing but a Curtain

Zula Rabikowska

'Nothing but a Curtain' explores womanhood and gender in Central and Eastern Europe through photography and moving image. In the former “Eastern Bloc”, the end of communism led to the escalation of gender-specific segregation in the labour market, contributing to a ‘feminisation of poverty’ and economic divisions between men and women. To this day, growing up in Central and Eastern Europe means facing male-dominated political systems, sexist stereotypes, restrictive beauty standards, and religious expectations. In the summer of 2021, Zula travelled 4,552 miles (7325.80 km) across the former “Eastern Bloc”, to document how younger generations experience traces of an obsolete world order. Tracing the border known as the “Iron Curtain”, Zula photographed and interviewed 104 people about their personal experiences of gender and womanhood. Travelling only by public transport, I visited 20 cities across Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

Artist biography

Zula Rabikowska is a queer Polish visual artist based in London.
Zula was born in Poland, grew up in the UK and her practice is influenced by her experience of migration and in her work, she explores themes of migration, displacement, gender identity and LGBTQI+ communities.

Zula holds an MA in Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication. In her practice, Zula often works with multimedia, film and digital and analogue photography, and incorporates archival images and documents to challenge conventional visual story-telling norms.

Zula works as a freelance photographer and lecturer of photography at Kingston University.


Gallery Lock In
Little Western Street
Brighton & Hove

12–15 October

Wednesday 18:00–21:00
Thursday 13:00–19:00
Friday 13:00–19:00
Saturday 13:00–19:00
Sunday 12:00–15:00