Statues have been around for centuries and aside from a few exceptions they normally follow the same artistic formula but over the last few years there seems to be a growing trend in Poland for memorial statues (or “pomnik” in Polish).
The first time I came across one of these was in Czestochowa on the central boulevard leading up to Jasna Gora. Located under a tree is a bench which appears to be made out of bronze. Sat on the bench is a bronze figure of a young lady and by her feet is a figure of a cat.
The lady is a memorial to Halina Poświatowska, a celebrated poet who was born in Czestochowa and sadly died at a young age, her youth immortalised by the statue.
The statue (or is it a sculpture ?) made a big impact on me because here in the UK I am used to seeing statues in park or town squares but nothing really as personal or as intimate as the one of Halina Poświatowska. Her memorial is placed among the people, not high upon some pedestal but on a boulevard filled with other real benches where real people sit. You can even sit by the side of her and it’s not uncommon for people to leave cut flowers by her feet or on her lap. I just think it’s a lovely way to memorialise somebody.
I have since come across many other similar memorials throughout Poland, some I have seen at first hand whilst others I have only been able to see via the internet.
In fact, on the same boulevard in Czestochowa is another memorial but this time to a well respected doctor from the town.
This trend of commemorating people by placing the memorials amongst the “living space” of Poles can be seen throughout the country and one of my favourites is in Wroclaw.
These figures were created by Polish artist Jerzy Kalina in memory of all those people who went missing and disappeared during martial law in the 1980’s.
The figures are located at a busy road junction and can be seen “disappearing” underground whilst on the other side of the road different figures can be seen emerging from the pavement. It’s a very strong image and a wonderful work of art.
The statue above is of a local gentleman from Warsaw who would stand at the same spot most days swaying from side to side after having one too many beers or vodkas. The figure is actually mounted on a spring so when the figure is touched it would sway in the same manner as the original ! My rather sketchy understanding is that the gentleman who the figure was based on sadly died during it’s preparation which begs the question as to how he would have reacted to this “honour” if he were still alive.