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Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Phuta o Jakha (Open your eyes) (detail), 2020.*
Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Phuta o Jakha (Open your eyes) (detail), 2020.*

Małgorzata Mirga-Tas to Represent Poland at Venice Biennale

Polish-Romani multidisciplinary artist, educator, and activist Małgorzata Mirga-Tas has been selected to represent Poland at the Fifty-Ninth Venice Biennale. Her “Re-enchanting the World” will occupy the Polish Pavilion during the event’s run, from April 23 to November 27, 2022. Known for a practice comprising sculpture, painting, installation, and large-format textiles, Mirga-Tas challenges discriminatory Romani stereotypes and cultivates a positive image of Roma culture. Her work frequently incorporates clothing belonging to friends and family, which she collages into patchwork screens showing scenes of the garments’ wearers engaged in everyday life, smoking or talking or just sitting around.

In selecting Mirga-Tas from among a field of thirty-three candidates, the jury in a statement cited her proposed installation’s “unusually attractive visual form (opening the pavilion to a wider audience) combined with an original and deliberate ideological concept ‘proposing a new narrative about the constant migration of images and mutual influences between Roma, Polish and European cultures.’” The jury also lauded the project’s blend of the personal and the communal, noting its referents as including Renaissance wall-painting, private iconography, and historical symbolism.

The Polish Pavilion is organized by Zachęta — National Gallery of Art in Warsaw. Krakow-based Wojciech Szymański, an art historian and art critic, independent curator, and Warsaw-born Joanna Warsza, an independent curator and editor living in Berlin, will cocurate Mirga-Tas’s exhibition. The installation in both title and nature responds to the Biennale’s overarching theme “Milk of Dreams”: According to the press release, “the artist will create a magical world, subjected to constant ‘re-enchanting,’ which will become a kind of refuge for the audience—an asylum offering hope and respite.”