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Dressing Matka Polka

Ratiborz Festival of Arts

Ratibor, Poland, 2007

 

With the OpenSpace PerformUnion and over forty women and men in Ratibor, Poland

 

                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                             
                                
                                
   

 

Photos: T. Wajsprych

 

Footnote:

The organizers of the festival and the women who participated in crocheting for Matka Polka asked if they could keep the finished crocheted piece and leave it on the sculpture for a few days so that more people could enjoy it, with the plan of then donating crocheted piece to the city museum after removing it from the sculpture.

 

Unfortunately, this was not possible.

 

The press reported that there was outrage about the fact that 'Germans' (the PerformUnion artists who participated in the action all have very 'German-sounding' last names) dared to interfere with Matka Polka. Some unidentified individuals — angry, young men the artist believes — decided to set fire to the crocheted piece two nights after she was dressed in color and joy, destroying the piece and also damaging the sculpture. 

 

Matka Polka (Mother Poland) is a symbol not only for the nation of Poland but also of ideal womanhood — bear children, cook for them, and raise them — and perhaps live to see them die. This ideal has been co-opted by various rulers and governments in Poland for their particular purposes over the centuries, whether during the wars of the 19th century or by the communists in the 20th.

 

 


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