Archive for December, 2006

Young Polonia of Polish-American Cultural Center

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Łukasz Waszczuk represents the younger generation of Polonia on the Board of the Center. I met with him recently during a meeting of the Center’s sports club. Łukasz is also active in the sports group and during this meeting he reported about the club’s newest section, the ski club. Members of the group get a sixty per cent discount on their ski equipment. Because of the wide range of his activities, I asked Łukasz for an interview. I was interested in his thoughts about my recent article in the Forum on young Polonia. First he was a little angry, because they’re trying, so why write that nothing is being done for the younger generation? I quickly explained that of course the youth are trying, but that they don’t get sufficient help from us, their elders. With this, he had to agree. Of course, he mentioned our director who always helps young Polonia and he thanked him for the generally favorable attitude of the Center toward their efforts, but he has a similar opinion as mine about the theme of Polonia in Cleveland. I asked simply: What do you want Polonia to do for you?
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Magdalena Abakanowicz in Chicago

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

In Chicago’s Grant Park, work began in November on the installation of an interesting project named “Agora” (from the Greek, “a place of meeting”) by our own Magdalena Abakanowicz. This seems a good time, then, to introduce the artist with a few words here.

Abakanowicz (born June 20, 1930) is one of the most well-known Polish artists throughout the world. For many years, she was one of the main „exports” of Polish culture, representing the country officially on the world stage; she was one of the most often cited artists in promotional materials for Polish art.

Abakanowicz specializes in creating large, figurative, spacial compositions using fabric, stone, wood, and bronze; her compositions have become known as „abakans” from her name. She is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, where she taught classes from 1965 to 1990. Silhouettes of human figures standing in a certain order are a frequent feature of her work. One example is „Nierozpoznani” (The Unrecognized), permanently installed at the Citadel in Poznań. The Chicago Project “Agora” is similar.
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Gustaw Herling – Grudziński (1919-2000)

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

During „the year of Giedroyc”, the figure of Gustaw Herling-Grudziński (1919-2000), the friend and collaborator of Giedroyc in Kultura, a writer of the highest rank who can be placed on the same level as Miłosz or Gombrowicz, should also be remembered. For years, he was one of the great forgotten, considered enemy number one in the PRL and always erased from textbooks and publishers’ plans. If one did not have access to underground publications, then one did not have any chance to come across his name. This prisoner of the Soviet camps, who also served as a soldier in Anders’ army, a hero of Monte Cassino who lived in Naples after the war, was sentenced to literary nonexistence in communist Poland. His reception in Poland after 1989 was all the stronger because his work appeared suddenly at full creative maturity and raised questions related to philosophy, art, religion, literature, and politics. One can divide his work into three different areas: testimony, fiction, and chronicle.
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Do You Know this America?

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

In the fifties, America became wealthier, and, in addition to money, they discovered free time. Time which they devoted to themselves, their families, and their friends. They bought homes and looked to their neighbors to see what was new in their garden and they bought the same grills, the same patio furniture, the same cars, and the same clothes. And, in their homes, they hung the same pictures on the walls.

But it’s easy to spend money. It was also important to show personality and creativity, especially artistic creativity. And a new fad helped: paint by numbers! The idea was a phenomenon. Entire sets were sold: the picture, paints, and brushes. Everyone could match the color with the number and paint those areas with the same number the same color. In this way they painted their own works of art with their own hands.
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