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News from the Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek
Recently the Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek has been working on projects which engage museum volunteers and audiences in new ways. Here we give you a small report on two events which took place at the museum in the summer of 2023.
Tableau vivant inspired by Włodzimierz Tetmajer’s painting.
It is always great to work together with partners in distant places, and moreover, when they stress that their heritage is specific to their location. For several hundred years Kraków (a royal city and a capital of Poland up to 16th Century) and Warsaw (a capital city later, till now) have been vying for the position of a true capital of Poland. We were so happy to undertake the challenge.
In cooperation with the Historical Museum of Kraków City we celebrated the Year of Włodzimierz Tetmajer, a prominent artist who died a century ago – a painter and stage designer working mostly in the art deco style typical to Kraków and the Austro-Hungarian Empire at that time. Together with our volunteers we chose one of his pieces. Then we created a tableau vivant: First, we carefully studied the picture, then we chose the exact place and clothes – then we had great fun arranging our volunteers. “On the Porch” is the title of the original painting which depicts several people at the porch of the manor Dworek Włodzimierza Tetmajera in Kraków. But we met with our volunteers at the porch of our Milusin Manor House to recreate a contemporary version of Tetmajer’s scene here.
In 2023 we celebrate the year of an outstanding woman fighter and activist, Aleksandra Piłsudska, the wife of Józef Piłsudski who is the hero of our museum. We wanted to enhance visibility of the feminine friendship, or better – the Sisterhood. Why the Sisterhood? Everyone knows the expression brothers-in arms. But what about women? Ewa Cieniak, a Polish woman artist working with embroidery as a tool for self-expression, created blueprints from photo shoots for self-portraits of girls and women working with our museum. According to these blueprints, the portrayed girls and women made their own embroidery pieces, with cotton, linen, and needlework.
So first, we organized an embroidery process named “The Sisterhood” which came to fruition in an exhibition of embroidered self-portraits of the participants. While sewing, they talked to each other and had a great time together.
Then on the National Armed Forces Day on the 15th of August we hung them up, as women hang washed clothes on lines to dry them – and people gathered. We used the special “marginal space” on the borderline of the historical museum compounds and of the Milusin Manor house. The performance was a wonderful testimony of time spent together, talking, and sewing. And using the space in-between, at the margins, the off-the limits seemed symbolical – as a way to make the work and history of women and sisterhood visible.
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