WHEN TWO youngsters dedicated suicide in a quiet nook of north-west Poland in 2015, partly due to opposition to their homosexual relationship, Daniel Rycharski travelled to the village, took branches from the tree the place the pair had killed themselves and made a easy crucifix. He carried his work, “The Cross”, to Warsaw and set it up in entrance of the presidential palace. One other cross as soon as stood in the identical spot to commemorate the traumatic airplane crash in Smolensk in 2010 that killed Poland’s president and lots of different senior officers.
A legion of Polish artists try to shine a light-weight on the nation’s swing in the direction of intolerance underneath the ruling Legislation and Justice social gathering. However Mr Rycharski’s nook of the artwork scene is a lonely one. He has arrange his studio within the village of Kurowko, some 110km from Warsaw. He considers himself a religious Catholic, however as a homosexual man he’s rejected by the Polish church. “For me, to reside in Poland is to reside in a cage,” Mr Rycharski says.
By way of his work, the 35-year-old artist-activist is rattling the bars. Mr Rycharski has moulded rosary beads from resin blended with the blood of a homosexual good friend. He has crafted scarecrows from wood crosses and garments donated by persecuted lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender individuals. He stitched an ecclesiastical gown from the clothes of Polish clergy, known as it “Ku-Klux-Klan” and topped it with a particular pointed hood.
But Mr Rycharski is religious. Mateusz Pacewicz, an award-winning Polish screenwriter, factors out that although “The Cross” may very well be thought-about “creepy”, Mr Rycharski’s pilgrimage with the crucifix turned the work into “a spiritual act, a ritual”. His religion has helped calm his critics. Authorities officers wrote to the Museum of Fashionable Artwork in Warsaw complaining about an exhibition of his work in 2019, however stopped wanting shutting it down. Bizarre people have tried to destroy items of his that have been displayed in public areas—however some apologised after the artist defined his which means. “He doesn’t need to lose his connection to the church, he desires to attempt to create a dialogue,” says Kasia Matt-Uszynska, the curator of Mr Rycharski’s newest present, on the Kahan Artwork Area in Vienna.
In truth, Mr Rycharski started to think about his personal sexuality in his work solely just lately. 4 years in the past he left cosmopolitan Krakow, having determined town wasn’t for him. His aim was to inform the story of Poland’s rural communities, usually disparaged as backward and philistine. Mr Rycharski gained over native villagers with avenue artwork, adorning houses, barns and public areas with pictures of hybrid animals, half wild and half domesticated. In 2014 he celebrated the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the abolition of Poland’s feudal system by erecting a rainbow-coloured triumphal arch outdoors a neighbour’s house.
It might wind up in galleries throughout Europe, however his artwork is sort of at all times displayed on Polish farmland first. His favorite mission merged his two worlds. After a string of Polish villages declared themselves LGBTQ-free zones, final 12 months Mr Rycharski persuaded 5 households in rural areas to ask LGBTQ guests to remain for a couple of days. Essentially the most hanging exhibit in Vienna is a tapestry depicting considered one of these hosts, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, with mechanical farm tools splayed behind him just like the wings of an angel.
Discovering prepared hosts was arduous, Mr Rycharski says. Persuading homosexual Poles to participate was even more durable. “Folks belief me, individuals perceive me and folks can do issues with me they might by no means do”, he says, “with somebody from the surface.” ■
This text appeared within the Books & arts part of the print version underneath the headline “A spot within the nation”