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Warsaw. “Tears of Happiness” exhibition at Zachęta. Jana Shostak's devastated studio

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The studio of Polish-Belarusian artist Jana Shostak, part of the “Tears of Happiness” exhibition at Zachęta, was destroyed the day after its opening. – A hammer and sickle were drawn on my notes, a hostile slogan was written, the Polaroids there were cut up and parts of the studio were spray-painted, said Shostak. The perpetrators have not yet been identified.

Jana Shostak's open studio organized at Zachęta is part of the “Tears of Happiness” exhibition and has a symbolic meaning. The artist wanted to show contemporary works of art and the symbolism of their expressions, thus expressing women's striving for independence.

“I would like to talk to the people who did this”

The day after the opening, unidentified people devastated the studio. The reasons for the attack are unknown. The artist assumes that it may be related to her numerous activities promoting knowledge about the situation in Belarus and Ukraine and her help for refugees from these countries.

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– It was a stressful event for me, because after activities focusing on helping people from Belarus and Ukraine and because of my origin (the artist was born in Belarus – ed.), I encounter a large wave of hate – said Jana Shostak. – I don't know if the incident at Zachęta was related to this. I would like to find out, I would like to meet and talk to people who did it, she added. – After years of activism, I expected that returning to art would give me a safe space – emphasized the artist.

A damaged desk, which was the artist's open studio, was placed near the stairs. The representative of Zachęta did not want to comment on this event, and in statements published in the media, the curator of the exhibition assessed it as an “attack of stupidity”. The probation team is searching for the perpetrators.

She is the author of many award-winning works

Jana Shostak is a Polish-Belarusian activist and intermedia artist. In 2013, she completed her bachelor's studies at the Faculty of Intermedia, Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Later she studied at the Faculty of Media Art of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.

In 2020, she was the winner of a scholarship from the Minister of Science and Higher Education for outstanding young scientists. She is the author of many award-winning works in the field of media and contemporary art. In 2021, she received the “Polityka” Passport in the visual arts category.

A story about emotions

“The 'Tears of Happiness' exhibition is the largest presentation of the Zachęta collection so far. Several dozen works from recent decades, including key works for Polish art history, as well as those related to groundbreaking events in the history of the gallery, tell a story about the emotions these works evoked. in the past and what they evoke today,” we read about the exhibition on the Zachęta website.

“The selected works and their contemporary interpretations, as well as current comments by both artists and the audience, reflect changes in social sensitivity that have taken place over the years. They also show the important role of contemporary art and cultural institutions in the process of regaining a voice by social groups that have been systemically deprived of it. ” – emphasized in the description.

Main photo source: PAP

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