Is “Polish hospitality” a myth, or is it still a cultural practice?
Traditional Polish hospitality used to be known all over Europe. Foreigners visiting the Republic knew the Poles welcomed guests warmly, especially those who brought news from faraway lands.
Today Polish hospitality is being put to the test. It is not about celebrating a few day together, but coexisting as a society. Giving up some of one’s own comfort. Thinking beyond one’s fence, beyond the gated community. The subject of refugees seems to be of key importance, and it creates deep divisions. It is openness to refugees that is becoming the benchmark of Polish – and not only – hospitality. Because hardly anyone is looking forward to their arrival. They are different, they can change our backyard. The power of Europe used to stem from its openness and curiosity about other cultures. We were able to tap into variety, we had an additive attitude to the new. Today we are afraid of the other. This subconscious fear has become a determinant of our outlook on the world. We are afraid of losing stability, of somebody taking it away from us. But what about the fact that we, Poles, often used to be refugees too?
Artists, including those representing the youngest generation, are not indifferent to the current social problems. We are curious to know their opinions, and this is why we have invited them to talk about Polish hospitality.

Marta Frej
(b. 1973) has graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. From 2005 to 2009 she worked as an assistant professor at Prof. M. Czajkowski’s studio of drawing and painting. She is a painter, illustrator, cultural animator; President of Kulturoholizm foundation, mother of Maciek, co-founder of the Political Critique Club in Częstochowa. Winner of the 2015 Equality Glasses award of the Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka Foundation. She currently works at the Youth Promotion Centre in Częstochowa.

Piotr Kmita
(b. 1981) has graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. In his practice he uses various media (painting, graphics, installation) to comment on a wide array of problems, with particular emphasis on the position of artist in the contemporary world. Using distanced irony, he does not shy away from confronting well-established artists. Winner of the WARTO award (2012).

Edyta Kowalewska
(b. 1991) has graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, from Prof. Krzysztof Gliszczyński’s studio. She made an annex to her diploma work at Dr Anna Królikiewicz’s drawing studio. She presently works as an assistant professor at Dr Dariusz Syrkowski and Dr Grażyna Kręczkowska’s studio of painting and drawing at the Faculty of Graphics of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. She lives and works in Gdańsk. A resident of the Artists’ Colony in Gdańsk. Winner of the Grand Prix in painting in the “Fresh Blood” competition.

Tomasz Kosiński
(b. 1971) is a man of culture, active in the urban and public space. Deputy President of Kulturoholizm foundation, co-organiser of the Arteria Contemporary Art Festival, works at the Youth Promotion Centre in Częstochowa. He actively creates and supports art in partnership with Marta Frej.

Iwona Ogrodzka
(b. 1991) has graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. She spent the academic year 2013/2014 on a scholarship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vilnius. In 2015–2016 she was the curator of the MD_S Contemporary Art Gallery in Wrocław. Winner of the “Fresh Blood” competition (2016) and the Promocje Review in Legnica (2016). She is a founding member of Wytwórnia Wykwitex. She works in painting and new media art.

Marzena Sadocha
(b. 1978) has graduated in Journalism from the University of Wrocław. A playwright, director and writer, in the years 2015–2016 she worked as a dramaturge at the Polish Theatre in Wrocław. She works as an assistant editor for Notatnik Teatralny and lecturer at the University of Lower Silesia. Author of Media Medei (the Polish Theatre in Wrocław), author and director of Tu mówi Elektra (Capitol Theatre).

Jana Shostak
(b. 1993) has graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, currently works on her PhD thesis at the University of Arts in Poznań. In her artistic practice she focuses on projects activating or hacking a community within a non-artistic system. She believes in art as a prime mover. Winner of the Critics’ Award at the exhibition Best AFA Diploma Works and the Grand Prix of the Young Wolves ’16 festival.

Karolina Jaklewicz
(b. 1979) has graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. In 2017 she defended her postdoctoral thesis. A painter, curator, lecturer, author of texts on art. She belongs to an international group of artists using the language of geometry who are gathered around Prof. Bożena Kowalska. She believes that abstract art is engaged. She works as a lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture of Wrocław University of Technology. As the Programme Curator of the Socato Art Gallery, she initiated and curates the “Fresh Blood” Young Art Review.