Social issues, sense of humor, and observations of everyday life – meet the female talents of contemporary Polish illustration and design.
“Drawing from rich traditions of the 60s and 70s of the last century, the contemporary Polish design and illustration shows the accuracy of observation, a sense of humor, irony, clarity and, at the same time, simplicity of the form. Yet, seen through the eyes of Polish women, it not only provides us with the moment of reflection, or admiration of the esthetics, but sometimes even though seemingly trivial, simple topics, touches upon important issues, such as the position of the women in the world. For centuries women were in a subordinate position in terms of their rights, voice, independence, their social and familial status. They had limited choices and little freedom. The status of women may be different today – even though female rights are relatively new and fragile matter in this world. Yet, does it still require any special strength, power or determination to be a woman?
“POLKI Hidden Power” is the online exhibition that aims to take a closer look at Polish women, as well as the achievements of Polish illustrations and design today. We present both the work of Polish illustrators as well as designers, particularly ceramists, that allude to the subject of womanhood in their works and the objects that embody the feminine strength in different ways. We invite you for a journey with nine Polish artists and their hidden powers.”
Monika Brauntsch, Exhibition Curator
The Spirit of Poland Foundation
“Hidden Power is the title of a Polish women’s exhibition that I learned about while working at Women’s Studio Workshop, an artist residency in Rosendale, NY, in the fall of 2017. One of the artists from the group was in residence working on a series of prints that simplified female forms, and we began a dialogue about women and art. The dialogue was a natural outgrowth of our environment, a residency founded in 1974 that envisioned a society where women’s art is integral to the cultural mainstream and permanently recorded. This contemporary group of Polish women artists comprises savvy illustrators and ceramic artists who portray womanhood using humor, beauty, irony, strength and meditation via masterfully crafted color, whimsical texture and exaggerated proportion. The collective’s work links directly to WSW’s mission and legacy. As I viewed their illustrations and leafed through their prints, questions about sexual harassment, human rights and reproductive rights currently playing out on the news bounced around in my head and gained speed: the 2017 global Women’s Marches, Nasty Women art exhibitions and the 2017 social media #Metoo movement. My mind replayed images of silent pink pussy hats bobbing up and down the street, credit cards swiping in pop-up art gallery fundraisers held on behalf of sexual violence survivors, and Times Up pins worn at annual entertainment galas. As I continued to view the artwork of the Polish women, the current news coverage faded from my mind and I found myself engrossed in the intimacy of small, everyday individual conditions: body hair, weight gain, meditation, child rearing and house plants. These quotidian concerns are elevated as experiences worthy of unapologetic expression. I am reminded of the courage it takes to recognize the overlooked. This is hidden power.”
Carol Flueckiger, MFA, Associate Professor Art
School of Art Texas Tech University
Curated by: Monika Brauntsch
Substantive cooperation: Ewelina Skowrońska, Carol Flueckiger
Visual identification: Kaja Kusztra
Film editing: Rafał Malko
Produced by: The Spirit of Poland spiritofpoland.pl
Financed from the funds of the Multi-annual Program INDEPENDENT 2017-2022, as part of the “Cultural bridges” subsidy program of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Organized in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York.