POLSKI

With less than a week to the launch of Colony of Artists – our safe, socially-distanced festival weekend – we would like to give you a sneak preview of our special Windows and Screens exhibition contribution.

Windows and Screens is our creative and responsible response to the smallest biggest disruptor which has prevented us from safely opening the doors of Abeyhill Primary School as one of the exhibition venues of the Colony of Artists festival as we have done for the last 15 years. Amids the COVID-19 pandemic, we migrated our festival exhibition from the school’s premises to these new platforms instead – windows and screens! It is the windows of the school and the screens at your fingertips that our artists-in-residence and their young co-artists have taken over.

While the windows of the school and the Abbeyhill area are ‘bee-ing’ transformed with various iterations of the Colony of Artists bee mascot, let’s talk about your screens. Amongst the couple of hours of binge watching we have curated for you, there is a fine selection of about 30 minutes highlights from POLSKI – our Polish artists-in-residence project co-curated with the Polish Contemporary Art Organisation since 2015. Here is your sneak preview!

Try your hand at Surrealism for Surreal Times – the first online workshop as part of Sylwia Kowalczyk’s digital residency in photography.

Crash into Party Portal – an audio play with an accompanying documentary investigating missing jewels and cake fights by our performance artist-in-residence Anna Danielewicz.

Take a dive with a School of Fish – a highlight of Joanna Lubonska‘s eco-residency supported by our first marine conservartionist-in-residence Catherine Gemmell including her virtual Assembly talk Summer of Marine Conservation.

Watch Hatchlings – a music video by filmmaker-in-residence Dawid Gumula featuring some top acts by 11-year-olds.

Blast off into space with Comic Universe (5 min read) – the anthology of Gen Z’s dark humour strips edited by our comic book artist-in-residence Zu Dominiak

Why POLSKI?

Back in 2015, we invited Iga Bozyk and Patrycja Godula of the Polish Contemporary Art Organisation to co-curate POLSKI at our school and build on the success of their latest group exhibition WAVES. Just like WAVES, POLSKI showcases Polish artists and artists of Polish descent at different stages of their artistic practice working with various media — photography, creative writing, printmaking, installation, collage, film, ceramics and performance.

While WAVES stands for the constant movement, outflow and influx of Polish talent to the British shores, POLSKI extends this metaphor to include the migration wave of Polish families and young people that started in 2004 when Poland joined the European Union. In 2020, the Polish nationals remain unsurprisingly number one in all ten Scottish local authorities and particularly concentrated in Edinbugh, as the latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics for Scotland have shown.

POLSKI focuses on the ripples of creativity at the heart of Edinburgh’s Abbeyhill Primary School by inviting up to 3 Polish artists-in-residence per year to bring the wonder of contemporary art in the classroom to every learner from Primary 1 to 7 through a series of residency projects.

We are grateful to all our POLSKI artists whom we have worked with since 2015 including Sylwia Kowalczyk, Anna Danielewicz, Zu Dominiak, Joanna Lubonska, Dawid Gumula, Jolanta Dolewska, Anna York, Robert Motyka, Agnieszka Mietkiewicz, Kristin Mojsiewicz, Sylwia Kolasinska and Monika Szydlowska.

We couldn’t have done this without the ongoing financial project support of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh, as well as the active involvement of all the Polish families and young people in our school and the wider Abbeyhill community.

We are also very pleased to announce to be able to continue with the POLSKI project in this new academic year 2020/21 through the digital residencies of Edinburgh and Glasgow-based Polish artists Robert Motyka, Agnieszka Mietkiewicz, Anna Danielewicz and Sylwia Kowalczyk. Stay tuned as we explore the role of artists and creativity in these extraordinary times of multiple crises, while we plan and curate our new POLSKI contribution to the 16th Colony of Artists festival in September 2021.

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