Faces of Solidarity - Polish Refugees in Minnesota is a photographic tribute to Polish Solidarity political activists that settled in Minnesota. This art exhibition launched in December 2021, marking Poland's 40th anniversary of martial law.
Solidarity was the most prominent freedom movement in the Eastern Bloc during the 1980s. With the support of almost 10 million members, it played a significant role in ending communist rule in Poland. After martial law was imposed in December 1981, many activists experienced state repression and imprisonment. Some of these individuals and their families fled Poland and settled in the United States.
Faces of Solidarity is a part of the Kalejdoskop Polski MN project. This exhibit is a photographic tribute to Polish Solidarnosc activists who settled in Minnesota. Ten striking portraits of Polish- Minnesotans will be on display at the East Side Freedom Library from September 9- October 1, 2022.
This exhibition was displayed in the Minnesota State Capitol between December 3 and January 7th, 2022. A month later, it was displayed at the Iversen Center of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul from February 14 - March 14, 2022. The on-campus sponsors of the event were the Office of Mission, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Theology, and Department of History. The photos from the opening ceremony are available on our blog.
“Our project aims to increase the visibility of Polish immigrants and Polish-American stories in Minnesota. We seek to connect these individuals’ journeys and the larger community-building process after a deep struggle. Our goal was to capture histories that allow audiences to relate empathically with different generations of Polish immigrants and examine their own stories of connection to immigration history. The stories of Solidarnosc activists, in particular, have been largely absent in the popular narrative, partly because these individuals have rarely spoken publicly about their experiences during that time.” - Dr. Katarzyna Litak, President of MPMS
The Lead Artist:
The lead artist on the project is Grzegorz Litynski (www.litynski.com), an internationally regarded humanist photographer recognized by the Polish President and received the BZWBK Press Photo Award. His solo exhibitions have been displayed at the National Center for Culture in Warsaw, the 2016 European Cultural Capital in Wroclaw, and the Deutsches Polen-Institut in Darmstadt Germany. He is the head of postgraduate travel and documentary photography studies at the University of Technology in Katowice, Poland.
The Exhibition Curator:
Dr. Katarzyna Litak is the curator and project manager of Kalejdoskop Polski MN and the exhibition "Faces of Solidarity,” as well as its graphic designer. She conducted interviews with the Minnesotan Solidarity activists.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in regards to Virtual Exhibition guided tours.
The project has received grant support from the Minnesota Historical Society and the Metro Regional Arts Council.