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Awards Kazimierz Kutz. Maja Kleczewska is the laureate

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The winner of the third edition of the Kazimierz Kutz Award was theater director Maja Kleczewska. The award was presented in Katowice on Thursday – on the 94th birthday of the director who died over four years ago. The distinction is awarded to people who combine artistic activity with social commitment. During the gala, the honorary award “Ambassador of Silesia” was also presented. It was received by MEP, former Prime Minister and former President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek.

The theater director Maja Kleczewska, thanking the jury for the award, said that “this is a special award that obliges not only to be faithful to art, but also, and perhaps especially, to civic attitude, to steadfastly uphold a democratic and tolerant society.”

As she assessed, “Kazimierz Kutz – a great artist, man, social worker, senator – fought with unwavering confidence for a free, strong, European, secular, wise Poland, for a Poland that will not focus on graves, but will look to the future” . She recalled Kutz’s strength, uncompromising character, and Kutz’s sharpness and courage in expressing his views.

Maja Kleczewska is the laureate of the Kazimierz Kutz Award PAP/Zbigniew Meissner

– Now we need perseverance in defense of democracy, the constitution, free courts, minority rights, women’s rights, human rights (…), animal rights. We need perseverance in defending values ​​and opposing populism, radicalism, fascist nationalism and manipulation in the public media. All this will require perseverance from us, said the awarded director. She also expressed her belief that – as she said – “we can do it”.

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The award, organized by the Stanisław Wyspiański Silesian Theatre, the local government of Katowice and the University of Silesia, was presented on Thursday during a gala at the Silesian Theater in Katowice. On Thursday, the 94th anniversary of Kazimierz Kutz’s birth passed.

– Our duty and obligation is not only to remember his artistic work, but also to talk about his ideas, agency, skilful impact on the environment and forcing all of us to think – said the mayor of Katowice, Marcin Krupa. – Today we suffer from a lack of authorities (…). We have our authorities in Silesia, Kazimierz Kutz absolutely belonged, belongs and will belong to them – emphasized the director of the Silesian Theater Robert Talarczyk.

Director of the Silesian Theater Robert Talarczyk and director Maja Kleczewska PAP/Zbigniew Meissner

Maja Kleczewska – who is she?

The award winner Maja Kleczewska is, among others, the author of the famous staging of “Forefathers’ Eve” at the Juliusz Słowacki Theater in Krakow. She is one of the most famous Polish theater directors, recognizable and appreciated also abroad. Her performances have been presented in Seoul, Paris, Tbilisi and Madrid, among others. She has been awarded many times at Polish and international theater festivals – among others, she was awarded the Silver a lion at the Venice Biennale.

– Maja Kleczewska is one of the most expressive and defiant personalities in Polish contemporary theatre, said Dariusz Kortko, a member of the award jury and head of the Katowice editorial office of “Gazeta Wyborcza”. The director of Teatr Śląski emphasized that for Kleczewska “strength, courage, determination and sensitivity to the social injustice of everyone who is weaker, excluded, moved away are something organic”.

Maja Kleczewska is the laureate of the Kazimierz Kutz PAP/Zbigniew Meissner

The winner received a statuette designed by Erwin Sówka and PLN 50,000, funded by the local government of Katowice. In addition to Maja Kleczewska, this year’s nominees were: cartoonist Marta Frej, architect Robert Konieczny, actress Maja Ostaszewska and painter Henryk Waniek. – These are people and works that improve our lives together. They have a positive impact on the public sphere. They make us live together in a wiser, wiser way, listening not only to ourselves, but also to others – explained the Rector of the University of Silesia, Professor Ryszard Koziołek.

Honorary award “Ambassador of Silesia” for Jerzy Buzek

During the Thursday gala, the second time honorary award “Ambassador of Silesia” was presented. It was received by a member of the European Parliament, former Prime Minister and former President of the European Parliament, Professor Jerzy Buzek. The laudation mentioned, among other things, four reforms of the government led by Buzek and his commitment to the creation of the EU Just Transition Fund, the largest beneficiary of which is the Śląskie Voivodeship.

– Ambassador of Silesia – it sounds more than proud (…). It is more than a pride to have such a title – said the 82-year-old politician, emphasizing that this title also means a great commitment. Accepting the award, Buzek also renewed his commitment to support and be an ambassador, not only for Silesia, but also Ukraine.

Jerzy Buzek PAP/Zbigniew Meissner

Buzek talked about his Silesian roots and attachment to Silesia, as well as Silesian diligence. He referred to the famous expression of Kutz, who once wrote about the “assholeness” of Silesians. ‘Maybe it’s also true that we’re kind of ‘asses’, but on the other hand, I’m absolutely convinced that there are much greater human weaknesses than diligence,’ said Professor Buzek.

Prize Kazimierz Kutz

The awards presented on Thursday commemorate Kazimierz Kutz, an outstanding director and promoter of Silesia, who passed away in December 2018, honoring extraordinary figures who somehow resemble the patron of the award with their attitude, activities and everyday work. Last year, the winner of the Kazimierz Kutz Award was the writer and publicist Szczepan Twardoch.

The jury chaired by the director of Teatr Śląski, Robert Talarczyk, decided on the choice of the laureate. The jury also includes: Halina Bieda, Antoni Cygan, Krystyna Doktorowicz, Andrzej Gwóźdź, Jerzy Illg, Aleksandra Klich, Dariusz Kortko, Ryszard Koziołek, Marcin Krupa, Olgierd Łukaszewicz, Ewa Niewiadomska, Jacek Siebel, Edyta Sytniewska, Iwona Świętochowska-Kutz and Piotr Zaczkowski.

After the award ceremony on Thursday, the performance “The Fifth Side of the World” was traditionally presented, based on Kutz’s best-selling, debut novel, directed by Robert Talarczyk. The performance, which premiered on the Katowice stage 10 years ago, received the “Golden Mask” for the performance of the year. On Thursday, the team of Teatr Śląski played the performance for the 103rd time.

The patron of the award, Kazimierz Kutz is a director, screenwriter, publicist, writer and politician – remembered in the region as an artist and promoter of Silesian affairs, creator of the Silesian trilogy – “Salt of the Black Earth” (1969), “Pearl in the Crown” (1971) and “The Beads” one rosary” (1979). Kutz’s other notable films include “I Will Stand on My Guard” (1983) – about the conspiracy in Upper Silesia, incorporated into the Third Reich during World War II; Death Like a Slice of Bread (1994) – about the pacification of the Wujek mine; the comedies “Reverted” (1994) and “Colonel Kwiatkowski” (1995). The artist, who died on December 18, 2018, rests at the cemetery at Sienkiewicza Street in Katowice.

Main photo source: PAP/Zbigniew Meissner

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