The Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow announces an open call for proposals for the 1st edition of the Chris Schwartz Memorial Art Award.
Chris Schwarz was a British photo journalist and the founder and first director of the Galicia Jewish Museum. His intellectual courage, willingness to ask the most difficult questions and efforts made to answer them, brought countless people together and gave them a new understanding of Polish-Jewish history.
The objective of the Competition is to promote and develop contemporary art as well as to create a forum for dialogue on history and Polish-Jewish relations.
The Competition is addressed to professional artists and final year art students (university level), possessing Polish citizenship or the status of long-term residency in the territory of the Polish state.
The Jury of the Competition envisages financing the realization of the winning proposal and its presentation in an exhibition organised at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow and granting money prize in the amount of PLN 20 000 on successful completion.
The theme of the first Competition entitled “Doors”, is inspired by a story told by Stanislaw Aronson, a Holocaust survivor and veteran of the Polish Home Army, which serves to present the wider context of Polish-Jewish interactions during the World War II.
In ’43 I was slightly wounded coming back from an [operation]. The Germans tried to stop us and there was some shooting, and I got a [bullet] that just scratched me here [points to his eyebrow], and I was bleeding. I went into a building in Warsaw, an apartment building, because I wanted to wash my face, and to put some plaster or something on this. And I started ringing at doors….
It was not a matter that I was Jewish or not Jewish—no-one opened the door. I went four floors up and down, three floors up and down, no-one opened a door. They probably looked, and they didn’t open their door. So you know, everybody was a hero in 1945… But I am not so sure that everybody was a hero in 1943 and ’44. What altogether is a hero? Why should anybody be called a hero?
To really understand life in occupied Poland, we need to understand the dilemmas of those people we neither celebrate nor condemn. That is why we have recognised the need to find a symbol, that on the one hand embodies the ambiguities and complexities of the period and on the other may serve to encourage mutual empathy and understanding. The symbol that seems to reflect the issue most accurately is that of an apartment’s front door with an eye-hole.
Though doors and their eye-holes serve as the starting point for this project, we are also receptive to various interpretations: so long as they are consistent with the theme, aims and values of the project. We do not impose any particular artistic field within which the work should be carried out.
Indeed the Prize is open to artists working in any medium including painting, photography, print, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, installation and moving image.
Applications for the first stage of the Competition are to be made on-line, via the entry form available on the website of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, in the EXHIBITIONS / COMPETITION tab, by December 31, 2018, 24:00 hrs.