Polonez à la Romanes 

2018, wall print, marker, sound, film.

The work is a collaboration between artist Magda Fabiańczyk and musicians/composers Anita Sułkowska, Ersad Kamiński and Angela Mirga-Piotrowska (a representative of Roma community from Bytom Bobrek). Magda and Angela met in 2013 while working together on the Where I was Not project.

Polonez à la Romanes borrows its title from Polonez (Eng. Polonaise); a historic national dance of Poland, which is still performed during festive and official occasions. The work attempts to create space for elements of Roma music within the strict rhythm of a national musical composition. Inviting participants to negotiate between two seemingly incompatible music traditions, inevitably personal expectations are also challenged, alongside political views and socially conditioned perceptions of possibilities. In Poland, those who identify as Roma constitute a significant ethnic minority, whose presence on Polish soil dates back to the fourteenth century, yet they are still perceived through the prism of prejudice and stereotype. Polonez à la Romanes is a mediation between music and visual arts, where the dynamic and specific elements of a musical piece were shaped by the conversations about social and political implications for the Roma living in Bytom. Sułkowska teaches classical music, while Kaminski specialises in Romani music. The collaboration with Fabiańczyk and Mirga resulted in an interpretation of Polonez marked by musical transitions, repetitions and questions. This reflects the shared history of Roma and Poles, their contemporary struggles, proposing a way forward, towards more even social dynamics. Fragments of the score have been transferred onto the gallery walls. Printed directly onto all the walls of the space, responding to the architecture – one could feel immersed in the work. They also spread onto the windows, through which the city of Bytom is seen. The sound of the composition fills the space. Next to them is a film documenting the process, highlighting obstacles present in the process of collaboration and ideas to overcome them. 

As part of the project, Angela Mirga-Piotrowska has developed a choreographic interpretation of Polonez à la Romanes performed by Roma and non-Roma children from Primary School No. 16 in Bytom, during the opening of the ‘Hate Free?’ exhibition at CSW Kronika.

To listen to the composition please visit: https://soundcloud.com/magdafabianczyk/polonez-a-la-romanes

Magda Fabianczyk works \ contact \ bio

Polonez à la Romanes at CSW Kronika in Bytom, 2018, as part of  Hate Free? exhibition, curated by Zuzana Stefkova/ Fot. Marcin Wysocki