The “Solidarity, protest, care” exhibition presents projects that are the expression of support for migrant men and women and shows how art can be effective. The selected works are created in solidarity with those who have experienced migration, they are the expression of care for the community that we create and for its individual members. They are also a voice of protest against the system which is illogical and unjust.
They were all created in the spirit of “mutual aid” which, as American activist and lawyer Dean Spade has put it, “is when people get together to meet each other’s basic survival needs with a shared understanding that the systems we live under are not going to meet our needs and we can do it together RIGHT NOW! Mutual aid projects are a form of political participation in which people take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions, not just through symbolic acts or putting pressure on their representatives in government, but by actually building new social relations that are more survivable”.
All those strategies of action will be presented at the exhibitions: symbolic acts, exerting pressure and building authentic relations. The invited artists live and create in Poland, so the local context and the events of recent years will be significant here. The majority of projects arise from our own migration experience or dedicated work with people who have lived it. Most of them, apart from asking the question of how to build an ideal community that would be based on respect for diversity, also show art in action. At the exhibition, you will see how artistic competences, including sensibility, attentiveness and a sense of agency become a catalyst for change and how they can be used in spaces that are not directly related to art. The results of artistic decisions and cooperation include, among other things: the establishment of a trade union, the evolution of the language used in public debates and in the media, and the change in the visual language of street protests.
Apart from artistic projects verging on activism, you can also see the photographs documenting the actions taken by the artists to support Ukrainian refugees. The exhibition itself will be displayed at Art_Inkubator in Łódź – a cultural centre with a support point for Ukrainian men and women. In the room where the exhibition was originally planned to be held, there is a temporary play space for children.
In the time when cultural institutions are turning into refugee shelters and when artists are preparing sandwiches and taking photos of migrants for their official documents, we are looking more intensely than ever for answers to the question of what art should be like in the time of war and crisis. The “Solidarity, protest, care” exhibition can be one of such answers.
Artists: Archive of Public Protests, Pamela Bożek, Karolina Gembara, Yulia Krivich, Marta Romankiv, Za*Grupa, “Sunflower” Solidarity Community Center
Curator: Marta Szymańska
ph. Yulia Krivich