Exhibition Highlights Polish Ambassador Visit

polishCurator Rodrigo Butori with his favorite poster ‘Wozzeck’ exhibiting in the Uncaptive Mind | Salma Ibrahim, PantherNOW

Salma Ibrahim | Contributing Writer 

On Nov. 15, the Polish poster exhibition ‘Uncaptive Mind’ was inaugurated by the Ambassador of Poland to the United States Marek Magierowski at FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs, in the Green School Gallery. 

This exhibition is presented by the Green School’s Blanka Rosenstiel Lecture Series on Poland and its European and Eurasian Studies Program. With free admission, this event will be open through November 2024. 

The poster designed by Polish graphic designer Jan Lenica for the Polish National Opera’s 1964 production of Alban Berg’s avant-garde opera Wozzeck in Warsaw is a haunting depiction of one of the final scenes. Wozzeck, composed from 1914-22, is a tragic tale of a struggling soldier who kills his mother, Marie, in a forest.’ 

The poster, a Gold Medal winner at the 1966 Warsaw International Poster Biennale, evokes themes of poverty, oppression, and jealousy, highlighting the tensions of life under Communism in Poland in the 1960s. The poster remains powerful to this day and made the cover and focus of this event.

“This all started 20 years ago when I was doing research in my advertising event. I found Wozzeck and I found the poster so different that I saw my whole lifetime and I googled and I got to know the whole story from the Polish school of posters,” said curator Rodrigo Butori while pointing to his favorite poster ‘Wozzeck’. 

In an interview with PantherNOW, Rodrigo Butori said that it’s not the Polish history that attracted him, but the back stories of every poster. During the collection, the prime obstacle he confronted was finding the appropriate pieces for the collection, especially because of the scarcity of availability of the high-priced original pieces. 

Marek Magierowski delivering his inauguration speech | Salma Ibrahim, PantherNOW

Apart from Rodrigo Butori, the main guest was Marek Magierowski, the Ambassador of Poland to the United States.

“This is something we are proud of and it was something in our genome, to reach out to the outer world by not only through words, not only through literature, but also through visual arts and to promote Poland through this kind of arts,” said Magierowski about the exhibition.

Mageirowski cherishes culture, art, literature, and sports. He also expressed ways of upholding Poland globally which elucidates the method of promoting Polish tradition via these posters.

After collaborating with The Polish School of Posters, Rodrigo started building the collection of posters and the school stands as an artistic marvel and testament to human ingenuity which origin rooted in the aftermath of World War II. 

The event comprehensively depicted the message in the caption of ‘The Uncaptive Mind’ era, contributing to a remarkable tribute to artistic freedom and a powerful contrast to Czeslaw Milosz’s ‘The Captive Mind’.

A poster of Polish artist Rafal Olbinski | Salma Ibrahim, PantherNOW

The newest addition to the collection was this poster, designed by well-known Polish artist Rafal Olbinski and featuring a bleeding heart and the colors of the Ukrainian flag, with a swallow representing freedom and independence. 

The painting of this moving piece was done in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2021. The inspiration for this work came from Natalia, Olbinski’s daughter, who encouraged her father to paint a picture that expressed empathy and support for the people of Ukraine. This touching poster was then put up for sale to help generate money for Ukrainian children.

Throughout the event, Rodrigo Butori aimed to convey a message through visual graphics, encouraging people to embrace creativity. 

He emphasized the importance of being hungry for creativity and extended an invitation to today’s youth, advising them to adopt a mindset of “Be creative, Be Hungry.”

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