Viktoria Valihora

I was raised in Slovakia where, as children, we grew up listening to tales that have been passed on for generations. These tales were often brutal and violent stories meant to warn us about the dangers posed by our own kind: people. From a very young age, we were placed face to face with the reality of life. Nothing was censored from us to ensure that we would not get burned later in life; however, it is often hard to see the truth.

As we mature, we become independent individuals—thrown into space with nothing to grasp. We meet new people who we believe will become our stable ground. Through this project, I revisit moments where I faced the harshness of reality, where I felt consumed by flames and burned to ashes by those who appeared closest to me. Through visuals that remind me of the warning tales that I remember from my childhood, I relive those thoughts as a young adult—altering them and visually showing my experiences and people. As a child, I was very attached to my hair; I believed it held memories that were precious to me. By cutting it, I would lose my connection with my younger self. Now, I am eager to cut those memories and move on—to feel lighter and free from what is weighing me down and stopping me from being open and trusting. These photos serve as a journal that will help me release the disappointment and anger I feel.

Viktoria Valihora is a 17-year-old multidisciplinary artist raised in Slovakia. Growing up in a family of creatives, her life has always revolved around art. Viktoria is often curious to try new art mediums and believes there are no limits to how many art forms one can explore. She is currently a student at LaGuardia High School studying traditional and digital art, including digital-media design, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, and drawing. In 2023, she was introduced to photography through the International Center of Photography and became deeply fascinated with the medium. She is currently a student in ICP’s Teen Academy Imagemakers program. Through her continual interest and growth in the art field, she uses all her art forms to explore her identity and communicate with the world. Viktoria strives to continue to study the arts in college and further develop her skills as an artist.