Paweł Kowalewski

Strength and Beauty

Strength and Beauty. A very subjective history of Polish mothers is a form of tribute to the young women who were born at the beginning of the XX century, and whose youth fell during the time of the Second World War and the development of the two biggest totalitarian systems. The exhibition was first presented in April and May 2015 at the Artist’s House in Tel Aviv. It was accompanied by the publication of a history of the 10 women, known as polnische mame in which Polish mothers are treated as a kind of cultural code. The exhibition was accompanied by social media activity which spread further the memory of the strength and beauty of the heroines of these histories.


The project consists of large sized portraits (200 x 140 cm) based on archive photographs of the heroines. The graphics, created in a monochromatic style, are made from small dots which form a whole only from a certain distance. They use a special paint which is designed to last only for up to 1 year. After this time the pictures will fade. Of course they could be protected like icons in a temple. However they can also be looked at and we can observe how they slowly and systematically become less and less visible, to become in the end only a memory.


The history of polnische mame has also become a pretext to talk about the generation which is now leaving us, a generation which formed us – the people who currently are the strength of the World. The women whose history are shared, and whose portraits are exhibited, have become in a way a symbol of a whole generation, women who threw off their past youthful experience of totalitarianism so as to normally function in society. Irrespective of where they happened to come to live later. They have now lived their lives and have disappeared from our world, leaving behind them memories which become even more precious as they have left us. It is our duty to cherish this legacy. This memory of a person or time which we carry in ourselves, in our beating hearts. Nothing can change this. This is the strongest indicator of our heritage, though invisible and inaudible. But it is still there; just as a Genotype.