Oiko Petersen

Downtown Collection

In his Downtown Collection project, Oiko Petersen wants to invite the audience to confront their own feelings of prejudice or bias. He hopes that when watching his photographs, people will have to face cultural barriers and the stereotyped perception of the physically and mentally disabled. By raising this subject, Petersen not only invites us to the discussion on beauty, but he also aims to show us how reluctant we are to let people with Down syndrome into the Polish society. He would like this project to make us learn more about the world of those with Down syndrome, and evoke more sensitivity to the presence of what (or who) is different or strange. Peterson employs the language of advertising in this project, and he carefully follows its rules. What is in fact a marketing campaign for a certain idea is disguised as a marketing campaign for a new clothing collection. In his Downtown Collection series, Oiko photographs a dozen or so people with Down syndrome, and he does it in a manner reserved for aesthetics-driven fashion photography. While attempting to reflect the character of his models, he also risks a question: is it possible that parody is in fact not what it seems to be, but it becomes a rightful and valuable element of our world? It is his invitation for the audience to challenge their own barriers and prejudice.

While people tend to associate Down syndrome with unhappiness and grief, Oiko Petersen claims that the reality can be quite the opposite – we just have to stop looking at people with Down syndrome through the prism of our normality, and it will quickly turn out that their inner world can be surprising, funny, moving.


“Niepełnosprawni umysłowo… modelami” - materiał “Wydarzeń” telewizji Polsat.