Connect: Katowice, curated by Oksana Smirnov (UK) and Pawel Mendrek (Poland), is a year-long collaboration between around 35 artists divided into 13 groups or “Connections“, all aiming to show the audience how beneficial intercultural communication can be. It has a very broad target audience as the artists’ collaborations are investigating the subjects which address different layers of society, such as: Polish-British migration during the WWII and how it influenced those involved in the migration and their further generations or in other cases, studying each other’s lands, their hidden traces, and folklore. However, the main theme which can be highlighted is Identity and Communication.

The more general aim of Connect:Katowice is to create a discourse between the artist, the space and the audience, and survey the balance between what is outwardly-facing and what we keep to ourselves. The project will evolve via exchange and collaboration between British and Polish artists, and display involving a British-based and a Polish curators’ intercession. The experimental nature of the project is aimed to reflect the interconnection of the roles of artists and curators coming from very different backgrounds.

Timelines and outcomes

A series of 1-2-1 artist partnerships will be established, starting with the presentation of the thirteen British artists’ work by the curators in February 2016. Soon after, Polish colleagues will individually propose to work with one of the British artists put forward, in turn making a similar demonstration. In March/April 2016, the British-Polish curating team will digest the possible connections and match around 35 individual artists into pairs or even larger collaborative groups.

April 2016 will witness the beginning of the “Connections” and all parties of the project being given the opportunity to question the foundational role of perception in understanding their own worlds and the worlds of others.  Being seen through the lens of their pairings/partners the artists’ identity can be presented at very different angles with this perception playing a great role in the making process, as all the artists have very different backgrounds and ways of exploring their surroundings. Using these perceptions as an advantage and an essential part of creating, the conceived artworks will begin to unravel the artists’ identities in a set of workshops in Hornsey Town Hall, London (December 2016), and will present final works to the viewers at the finale of the cross-communication process – the exhibition at Rondo Gallery, Katowice, Poland (June 2017).

(l) Katowice. Photo credit Kelise Franclemont (r) London. Photo credit Chel/SweetBriar Dreams of http://www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

Connect: Katowice and London is kindly supported by:

With additional support from:

Connect: Katowice and London’s
Project Coordination kindly provided by:
  • Oksana Smirnova (Lead Curator)
  • Alex Roberts (Project Administrator, Funding Facilitator, AIDF’s lead artist)
  • Kelise Franclemont (Project Administrator, PR/Media Coordinator)
  • Pawel Mendrek (Coordinator – ASP Academy of Fine Arts, Katowice)
Supporting Institutional activity Partners:
  • Chelsea College of Arts, London, UK
  • ASP Academy of Fine Arts, Katowice, Poland
Connect: Katowice and London exhibited at:
  • Ply Gallery, Hornsey Town Hall, London (December 2016)
  • Rondo Gallery, Katowice, Poland (June 2016)
Additional project support from:
  • Marilyn Collins (UK venues and copy editing)
  • Joseph Lichy (design and copyediting)
  • Louise Wheeler (educational support at Chelsea College of Arts)
  • Ewa Zasada (design and copyediting)
  • Kelise Franclemont