This is a project about a little city in the heart of Croatia and its people. We can all agree that Petrinja has been through a lot. Years of war and destruction from earthquakes have certainly left deep scars, not only from the outside, but also from the inside. I had always felt grateful for my parent’s sacrifice, but looking back, today, I can feel the soil drenched in their blood, sweat and tears. I used to compare it to the murky river sediment — once settled, it never moves and gets buried deeper by the next layer of the sediment. But a few days ago I witnessed a festival that changed my view on Petrinja profoundly. Suddenly, from this forgotten, murky and wounded town, Petrinja turned into a shining, golden place full of joy and happiness. People were gathering at the open ceramic studio, and every single one of them knew what to do. I witnessed a small community banded by the same blood—sweat—and—tears—drenched soil they used to curse a few years ago. As if their hands were the extensions of their hearts and as the clay got softened, so did their hearts. The idea of sculpting something from nothing, the ability to express themselves, the sharing of knowledge and skills, and the connection with the community is exactly what this town needed. That’s why I choose to edit these photos this way; Not because they are pretty, but for what they represent. They represent a shining, golden future for my town—a future built on the golden soil by the golden hands of my people.
Alen Klimenta was born in 1995 in Zagreb but grew up in Petrinja. Although Alen’s creativity in different fields of life was clear from an early age, a deeper interest in photography was awakened 4 years ago; That’s when his first camera arrived at his home address, from the distant Philippines. This gift had encouraged him to record even the smallest details around him more and more often. That’s when Paradoxalen was born. Alen often tries to arouse feelings of disgust, wonder, admiration, and happiness with his photography. Since 2018, he has been exhibiting his works at many exhibitions of the project “F12: Free art display” through the Clubture platform in partnership with the Association for Social Development KA—MATRIX, UKE and Attack! in Duga Resa, Karlovac, and Zagreb. His first exhibition, entitled “Negativa negativæ” was organized in June 2019 as part of the “Artist Nouveau” program of the Petrinja association Alternacija. For the next one, in June 2021, entitled “Through the eyes of a naturalist”, he was nominated at Zagreb Design Week as a finalist for the award for graphic design. In the same year, he took part in the Ilica Project: Q’ART / ALL THE COLORS OF ILICA.
In March 2022, he had a joint exhibition in Samobor Youth Center. And in June, he was chosen together with 15 of the best regional photographers to attend the FOTOSOFIA — seminar and workshop for advanced photography under the guidance and artistic direction of photographer Damir Hoyka.