A tale of two cities: Two giant murals commemorate Poland and Czech’s 1980-89 road to freedom
Two new murals – one in Warsaw and one in Prague – have appeared to celebrate the events that led up to the fall of communism in Poland and the wider region in 1989.
The communist regimes installed in Central and Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union after the Second World War did not collapse overnight.
They followed years of pressure on the authorities by bottom-up movements made up of ordinary citizens, notably the Solidarity trade union in Poland.
Entitled “Wall of Culture”, the Polish-Czech murals mark 40 years since the establishment of Solidarity, which played such a key role in the changes in the region at the end of 1980s.
They were created by Warsaw-based Good Looking Studio, which specialises in hand-painted murals and outdoor advertisements.
Eight artists from Poland and the Czech Republic were involved in the project: Karol Banach, Kinga Offert, Olga Fedirko, Kasia Majewska, Aliona Baranova, Martina Fischmeister, Marek Kulhavy and Barbora Idesova.
The murals are made up of individual projects by the artists, which were used to make a collage.
According to Good Looking Studio’s co-founder Bartek Leśniewski, the idea was to create a unique project with an international character.
“We hope that this unusual creative idea will contribute significantly to recipients’ and the media’s interest in the history that led to ground breaking events in the history of not only Poland, but the whole of Central and Eastern Europe,” he said.
The project began with a study visit to the Tri-city on Poland’s Baltic coast, which includes Gdańsk, the birthplace of Solidarity.
Later, the artists visited Prague to gain a Czech perspective on the events of the 1980s that led up to the fall of communism.
Located at 45 Sienna Street, near the Central Railway Station, the mural in Warsaw was unveiled on 9 October.
The work on the project received a subsidy from a Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage programme.