GIVE LOVE TO OUR ARTISTS. The Sequel. 75 YEARS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF POLISH ARTISTS AND DESIGNERS IN BIELSKO-BIAŁA
Five years after the memorable Give Love to Our Artists, which commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Artistic Association in Bielsko-Biała (1945–2015), it is time for another large exhibition of works by local artists.
The new exhibition has been jointly organized by the Regional Board of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers, Galeria Bielska BWA and the Historical Museum in Bielsko-Biała.
Currently, the regional branch of the Association has over a hundred member artists representing different generations. Since 2012 the Board of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers has been headed by Mirosław Mikuszewski, a visual artist and industrial designer, who is currently assisted by Mateusz Taranowski, a younger artist engaged in digital photography, design, visual communication and graphics. The idea to hold both the jubilee exhibitions, in 2015 and 2020, was conceived by Krystyna Stec – the head of the Regional Board of the Association and Director of Galeria PPP.
The local branch of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers was established in the 1940s. The following decades brought stronger integration of the local artistic community, and the construction of the Exhibition Pavilion in Bielsko-Biała in 1960, which soon became the seat of the newly established BWA (Bureau of Artistic Exhibitions) and the hub of artistic activities in the region. Standing in the very heart of Bielsko-Biała, the former Exhibition Pavilion was expanded in the 1980s and renamed Galeria Bielska BWA.
Teresa Dudek Bujarek, the Historical Museum in Bielsko-Biała:
For the first 15 years, the Association was based in the Sułkowski Dukes Castle. The artists had their office there, and studios, they organized exhibitions and other events in the Castle, and then for the next 18 years, until 1978, they moved to the Pavilion, which had become an affiliated branch of the BWA in Katowice in 1972 and then in 1976 an independent Bureau of Artistic Exhibitions (BWA) established by the Provincial Office in Bielsko-Biała (after the dissolution of the Katowice branch in 1975). The Association kept its office in the Pavillion for the next years, but was no longer responsible for the programme content.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary, the gallery is staging a large exhibition of works by artists from Bielsko-Biała. The concept behind the exhibition has been developed by the curator of the exhibition Agata Smalcerz, and the arrangement designed by Krzysztof Morcinek.
The exhibition at Galeria Bielska BWA presents new works by members of the Association, now numbering over 100. It is always a valuable experience to visit the ‘worlds’ created by outstanding artists. Viewers will find some of the featured paintings readily recognizable by their well-established styles, and others representing new and surprising points of view and forms of expression. The exhibition features works by both established and budding artists, all representing a wide spectrum of techniques. Periodical exhibitions have their drawbacks – it is impossible to show large series of paintings, exhibition rooms contain works by many different artists, but these occasions offer visitors an opportunity to see the latest developments on the local art scene, as well giving the artists a chance to meet each other, compare achievements, exchange thoughts and ideas. Also, we plan for the first time in our history to hold an auction and sale of the works during the closing of the exhibition. I hope they’ll bring good results!
Mirosław Mikuszewski, Chairman of the Board of the District Association in Bielsko-Biała:
The Association of Polish Artists and Designers has seen better days, if you ask me. The resources recovered after Martial Law [in the early 1980s] are dwindling. The status of a visual artist in no way corresponds to the present-day reality. Unlike most “freelance professionals”, we pay for our workshop, exhibitions, catalogues. Insurance and taxes don’t match the specific nature of the business. The art market is almost non-existent.
The situation in Bielsko-Biała is better. We generally get along with the city authorities and cultural institutions. Our activities seem to be perceived as necessary. The monthly exhibition, which is free for members of the Association, contributes to a better integration within artistic circles, allows regular presentations of local artists, as well as meetings with local residents and friends. There is also a sales gallery. Our activity has recently proven quite attractive – after a long break, we have gained 16 new artists, not only young ones.
Our achievements are the result of the ongoing commitment of a handful of individuals:
Krystyna Stec, who has been involved in the work of the Association since the 1970s and is still extremely active today.
Mateusz Taranowski – an extremely reliable partner,
Teresa Sztwiertnia and Jola Herma-Pasińska, both constantly supporting our activities.
Piotr Wisła, tirelessly designing great catalogues.
Teresa Dudek Bujarek, who diligently researches and presents our history.
THANK YOU ALL.
Quite a few members of the Association have received or been nominated for the annual Artistic Award of the Mayor of Bielsko-Biała “ICARUS”. Last year the ICARUS 2019 award for outstanding activity in the areas of culture and art was presented to Tadeusz Moskała, a visual artist best known for his 6D artwork combining real and imaginary spaces, and member of the Association for more than 50 years. He had previously been nominated for the ICARUS award many times. Also last year, Waldemar Lesiak and Piotr Wisła, both recently holding large solo exhibitions, received nominations for the award. Other nominees for and winners of the ICARUS award within the last five years include Michał Kliś, Zdzisław Kudła (ICARUS 2016), Barbara Nachajska-Brożek and Mirosław Mikuszewski.
“Give Love to Our Artists. The Sequel” is an undertaking which combines a number of events which will be held in Galeria Bielska BWA, the Historical Museum of Bielsko-Biała and the PPP Art Gallery located in the historic townhouse at Rynek 27 which also holds the seat of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers.
Teresa Dudek Bujarek, the Historical Museum of Bielsko-Biała, from the periodical Wystawnik No. 1 (30) January 2020:
One of the first individuals who dreamed up the idea to create a branch of the Association in Bielsko was Jan Chwierut (1901 – 1973). He subsequently became its first, and long-standing, chairman and co-organized the 1st National Art Exhibition of the Province of Śląsk and Dąbrowa which was opened on 14 April, 1946 in the Castle of the Sułkowski Dukes in Bielsko. Born in the village of Sporysz, graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, resident of Bielsko in the years 1932-1950, and an immensely inspiring teacher working in underground education during the War, at the Polish Gymnasium in Bielsko, and the State Industrial School in Bielsko. (...)
In Wystawnik, Teresa Dudek Bujarek also presents two other artists once actively involved in the operations of the Association – Jerzy Leski (1922–1997) and Władysław Szostak (1925–1983), as well as the current Chairman of the Regional Board of Association Mirosław Mikuszewski.
The exhibition “Give Love to Our Artists. The Sequel”, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Regional Branch of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers in Bielsko-Biała will run from 4 September to 4 October 2020.
The opening will be held on Friday, 11 September, at 5 pm
Some of the exhibited works will be auctioned during the closure of the exhibition in Galeria Bielska BWA at 4 pm on Sunday, 4 October.
Read more about the 70th anniversary of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers in Bielsko-Biała and the exhibition "Give Love to Our Artists" in Galeria Bielska BWA in 2015 >>