YOU HEAR AND YET YOU DO NOT ROAR

NATALIA KASPRZYCKA

14 DECEMBER, 2020 – 6 JANUARY, 2021
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↑LYou Will Burn In Women's Hell ––– ↑RYou Will Never Walk Alone
↑LNatalia Kasprzycka –––––––––––– ↑RArchive of Public Protests (APP)
Slideshow photos taken with permission from APP - https://archiwumprotestow.pl


For the launch of the brand new window exhibiting space at AirSpace - INTHEWINDOWTOO - we present this vital print response to Poland's current Abortion Law protests, by AirSpace Studio Artist Natalia Kasprzycka.

BACKGROUND

On 22nd of October, the politicised Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw banned abortion in case of incurable defects of the foetus, severely tightening the abortion law, already the strictest among large European states. The Tribunal's decision has sparked protests of unprecedented scale which despite their peaceful nature are facing both the military and riot police in full strength. There have been countless reports of the abuse of power by the latter, including unleashing aggressive undercover officers into the crowd and using pepper spray and tear gas on the protesters, including MPs and the press, all clearly showing their passes and IDs.

In 2016, when the same legislation was presented to the Polish parliament, the pushback caused by the massive demonstrations across the country was enough to stop it passing. Four years later however, after repeated action by the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) to dismantle and politicise democratic institutions, a new opportunity to pass the law appeared – in the view of many Poles to distract the public from the government's inability to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. Passed by politically appointed judges and without a parliamentary vote, it became an element of the Polish Constitution, which the hundreds of thousands of the country's citizens who have been protesting every day amidst the raging pandemic are not willing to accept.

THE PRINTS

The slogan NIGDY NIE BĘDZIESZ SZŁA SAMA (YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE) originated during the violent queer rights protests which erupted in Poland during the presidential election in August 2020, after an activist from a queer collective Stop Bzdurom, Margot, was arrested for damaging an anti-abortion van in Warsaw. It naturally permeated into the current abortion rights movement and became one of its key messages of support.

The poster itself originates from a protest newspaper produced by the Archive of Public Protests (Archiwum Protestów Publicznych – APPhttps://archiwumprotestow.pl/), an initiative made up of Polish photographers Rafał Milach, Paweł Starzec, Marta Bogdańska, Agata Kubis, Chris Niedenthal, Joanna Musiał, Wojtek Radwański, Karolina Sobel, Bartek Sadowski, Marcin Kruk, Adam Lach and Dawid Zieliński, who have documented public unrest in Poland since 2016, when Law and Justice (PiS) first took power in the country. It is one of many open source initiatives from Polish artists and creatives to provide the protesters with visual aid (another notable one is Graphic Emergency (Pogotowie Graficzne)).

The creative aspect of these spontaneous and independent protests is one of their most extraordinary elements. Often built around the movement's main symbol – the red lightning bolt – posters, protest slogans painted on cardboard and walls, make-up, body painting, uniforms all have a utilitarian nature and are often makeshift, needed to be abandoned or hidden at the sight of danger. Their bold beauty comes from that motivation of need – to express, to participate, to defy, identify oneself, to document a revolution – as much a social as a personal one, because many of the protest's participants have experienced violence and danger they never expected.

The second poster, NIECH WAS PIEKŁO KOBIET POCHŁONIE (YOU WILL BURN IN WOMEN'S HELL) also came out of need, the artist's need to act and show support despite being physically unable to participate is the protests. The poster is a version of one of 600 original leaflets, printed on an Adana letterpress, available to her thanks to AirSpace Print Club – a portable machine which historical purpose was to print protest leaflets and propaganda on the streets. The rest of the leaflets will travel to Poland, where they will be distributed among the protesters.

WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR MP AND HELP THE STRUGGLE FOR ABORTION RIGHTS IN POLAND

You can actively support the fight for abortion rights by writing to your MP about the issue. The need for international support in Poland hasn't been greater since 1980s, when the country was fighting for its democratic independence.

Depending on whether you're a British citizen/non-Polish resident of the UK or a Polish national living in the UK, you can use one of the templates below to write your letter, or click HERE to find more information.

Click HERE for the Letter Template For British/non-Polish nationals

Click HERE for the Letter Template for Polish residents in the UK

***Repeated content can be recognised as phishing. Please be creative if you can, add something personal or send the letter as an attachment rather then as contents of an email. Always include your address, otherwise the letter will be invalid.




Natalia Kasprzycka is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the themes of circulation and transformation of matter. Investigating the idea of 'place', she works on lo-cation-specific, cognitive projects aiming to bridge a scientific approach and artistic sen-sitivity. Her process and material-focused displays are designed to question the ap-proach to natural resources in an outcome-oriented, anthropocentric reality. Rather than a maker, she sees herself as a storyteller and facilitator of interactions between an audi-ence and the non-man-made.

A trainee in ceramics, she investigates the intersection between pottery, geology and memory, with a particular focus on wild, local clays, which she collects from all over the world. In 2019 she became a QEST Scholar and is currently a student at Clay College Stoke.




InTheWindowToo is a new exhibiting window space at the gallery, foregrounding 2d works, small sculpture, and film. There will be a series of open calls for exhibiting coming up throughout the rest of the 2020-2022 programme.