We have just had what was officially Polish Cultural Week which, I’m pleased to say, as far as the galleries are concerned, seems to be lasting until the end of the month, with lots happening at a number of venues around Belfast.
Perhaps the biggest show is Energy Class B at the Ormeau Baths Gallery.
This exhibition, designed to ‘show the quality and breadth of contemporary art being produced in Poland,’ shows work by 13 different artists and spans numerous media including sculpture, photography, video, installation and performance. Designed to provide the viewer with some insights into today’s Poland, it is an exhibition of contrasts — the old with the new, the East with the West, bitterness with hope.
In connection with the exhibition the gallery is holding a number of events.
The first, on May 23, is a performance/presentation by Julia Wojcik which will be ‘a classroom style talk’ examining some of the differences between the Poles and the Northern Irish.
Another exhibition that lasts all month is Solidarity and the Polish path to Freedom in the Vertical gallery, Linen Hall Library.
This selection of posters and political prints illustrates ‘the Polish path to freedom’ from the workers strikes of the 198os to the formation of the solidarity movement and the creation of its iconic, red and white logo.
Posters which played a vital role in helping to define the country’s future include (right) this landmark image of Gary Cooper in High Noon strolling towards the viewer holding not a gun, but a ballot paper with, above his sheriff’s star, a solidarity badge. Lots of great images in this one.
Other exhibitions include Immigrants and the City, new works by young Polish photographer Marcin Wilkowski in the Common Grounds Café , 12-24 University Avenue.
There is also Printed Politics which takes as its centrepiece the original, old, manual printing press (complete with type cases and original artwork ) used by the underground Solidarnosc movement. This is at PS2, 18 Donegall Street.