Monday, June 23, 2014

PAHA at the Fifth Congress on Polish Studies in Warsaw

Palac Kazimierzowski, University of Warsaw

The Fifth World Congress on Polish Studies was held at the University of Warsaw on June 20-23, 2014 and has shown a remarkable collaboration between the Polish American Historical Association and its parent organization, the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PAHA was co-founded by Oskar Halecki, who also co-founded PIASA).  From the opening ceremonies to the banquet with awards for some of our most important "people" - PAHA had a very prominent presence at the Congress.

PAHA Board Meeting: Front LR: Iwona Korga, Pien Versteegh, Grazyna Kozaczka,
Jim Pula. Back L to R: Angela Pienkos, Tom Napierkowski, Stephen Leahy, Donald Pienkos
Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann,Ann Hetzel-Gunkel, Neal Pease, Anna Mazurkiewicz, 
Tom Duszak, and Mieczyslaw B.B. Biskupski

On June 19, 2014, we held our Mid-Year Board Meeting at the Museum of Polish History on Senatorska Street.We had a very fruitful meeting that was very well attended by Board members and guests, such as Angela and Donal Pienkos. Poles were surprised that we had a meeting on that day, as exactly at 5 p.m. the streets of Warsaw filled with a multitude of processions celebrating the Corpus Christi with flags, icons, the Host carried under a canopy, and preceded by rows of girls scattering flower petals on the way...The long weekend for Warsaw's residents was starting; our Congress was getting under way.

Prof. Biskupski opens the plenary session on Jan Karski. Aula Adama Mickiewicza, UW.

On Saturday, June 20, 2014, the opening plenary session on Jan Karski was chaired by PAHA Board Member and PIASA President Prof. Mieczyslaw B. B. Biskupski.  PAHA sponsored three sessions and our members participated in many other sessions on a variety of topics. Many PIASA members talked about Polish-American relations, emigration, and Polonia issues.  All together, I counted 54 papers on Polish-American topics.

Prof. Walaszek opens the session on Kosciuszko in America.

The three PAHA sessions were dedicated to: Disapora Reactions to World War and Cold War, chaired by Renata Vickray, PIASA Secretary (Saturday, June 21, with papers by Gabriela Pawlus Kasprzak, Jan Lencznarowicz, Robert Szymczak and Mary Erdmans); Commemoration in Exile, chaired by Dorota Praszalowicz from Jagiellonian University (Saturday, June 21, with papers by Anna Jaroszynska Kirchmann, Anna Mazurkiewicz, Patryk Pleskot, and Iwona Korga), and Reflections of the Polish Diaspora, chaired by Harriet Napierkowski (Monday, June 23, with papers by Arnold Klaczynski, Anna Brzozowska-Krajka, Thomas Napierkowski and Grazyna Kozaczka.

Many other PAHA Members gave papers at different sessions, including, in addition to those mentioned above: Jim Pula, Neal Pease, Stephen Leahy, Silvia Dapia, Ann Hetzel Gunkel, Piotr Wrobel, Adam Kozaczka, Joanna Wojdon, Adam Walaszek, and Maja Trochimczyk.

Award Ceremony at the Banquet at the National Library.

L-R: Neal Pease, Tom Napierkowski, Anna  Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, Robert Szymczak

At the closing banquet, representatives of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented medals to the following scholars:  Commandor Cross of the Order of Merit to Prof. Mieczyslaw B.B. Biskupski, Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit to Prof. James Pula (PAHA Treasurer and outgoing editor of the Polish American Studies) and Prof. Neal Pease (PAHA Past President and Board member); Officer Cross of the Order of Merit to Prof. Anna Jaroszynska Kirchmann (PAHA Past President and incoming editor of the Polish American Studies), Prof. Thomas Napierkowski (PAHA President), and Prof. Patrice Dabrowski, and additional medals to Prof. Robert Szymczak. Congratulations to one and all! It was a wonderful day for PAHA!

Jim Pula and Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann with their new medals.

Neal Pease, Tom Napierkowski, Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann. 
Photo by Pien Versteegh.

Mieczyslaw B.B. Biskupski. Photo by Pien Versteegh.


Report by Maja Trochimczyk with photos by Anna Mazurkiewicz and Pien Versteegh.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Julian Stanczak, the Artist of Color and Light

Hot Summer by Julian Stanczak (1956)

On January 3, 2014, PAHA honored the 70-year career of artist Julian Stanczak with its Creative Arts Prize. According to PAHA President, Dr. Thomas Napierkowski, this award “recognizes contributions in the field of creative arts by individuals or groups that have promoted an awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas.”
Constant Return I by Julian Stanczak, 1965, 39x39

Julian Stanczak (b.  1928 in Poland), was deported by the Soviet military to a gulag in Perm, Siberia, following the Nazi-Soviet invasion and conquest of Poland in 1939.  Stanczak escaped from Siberia in 1942, via Persia and Uganda. In 1942-48, he lived in a Polish refugee camp, in Uganda, Africa, where he received his first private art lessons and started painting and drawing the African landscape. Its vivid hues remained in his memory and inspired his life-long fascination with color. After studying for two years in England, in 1950, he came to the U.S. where he received a BA from the Cleveland Institute of Art (1954), and completed an MFA at Yale, studying with Josef Albers and Conrad Marca Relli (1956).He has achieved wide acclaim and success despite the fact that since his incarceration in the USSR, he permanently lost the use of  his right arm (he used to be right-handed).

Formation by Julian Stanczak, 1973, 50x60

Julian Stanczak is recognized as one of the important pioneers in Op-Art. This term first appeared in print in Time magazine in October 1964 in response to Stanczak's show Optical Paintings at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. “He taught for decades at the Cleveland Institute of Art and created hundreds of subtle and precisely executed geometric paintings whose patterns and colors interact in ways that make them seem to vibrate with electric energy. ” (Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, Oct 30, 2012).

Green Light by Julian Stanczak, 1973, 60x60

His art was featured at 180 exhibitions, and may be found in 77 museums and private collections. Awards include a doctorate honoris causa from Case Western Reserve University. The year 2013-2014 is dedicated to Stanczak celebrations by the Akron Museum of Art in Cleveland, the Museum of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and the Kelvin Smith Library of Case Western Reserve University.

Mirrored by Julian Stanczak (1971)

For further details see: Stanczak’s art in his own words:

 “My primary interest is color—the energy of the different wavelengths of light and their juxtapositions. The primary drive of colors is to give birth to light. But light always changes; it is evasive. I use the energy of this flux because it offers me great plasticity of action on the canvas. To capture the metamorphoses—the continuous changing of form and circumstance—is the eternal challenge and, when achieved, it offers a sense of totality, order, and repose. Color is abstract, universal—yet personal and private in experience.”

   Floating Green by Julian Stanczak, 1974-75, 28x28

       “I try to melt geometry down and make it sing.”  “In the beginning, geometry seemed brutal to me. When I first used it, it was as if I was removing personal responses and emotion, and I missed the connection to Nature and to life… Gradually I found that in a clear and clean environment, I could give my colors the emotive element without direct references to Nature… Yet even in my current work, I am still torn between emotion and Nature—fluency and geometry. When people ask me, ‘What are you painting?’ I might say, ‘Sunsets!’ … “I do not believe that one finds art in the object, but that one finds art within oneself by being confronted with an object of motivation. I do not cater to any public wish. Yet, we create for others, not for ourselves, because we want to share the experience of life!”

"Proportional Mixing," 2011, acrylic on board,
 30 panels of 16x16 inches each (84x101 inches overall)

Julian Stanczak gave PAHA permission to use his modern, elegant paintings in PAHA’s PR materials, such as the postcard about our journal, the Polish American Studies  and a tri-fold flyer about PAHA's goals, and projects. We are truly grateful for this generosity of an extraordinary artist. Below are two panels used in PAHA's material with permission of the artist.

Structural Cadmium Red and Structural Cobalt by Julian Stanczak, 2012, 24x24.

Article by Maja Trochimczyk, reprinted from the PAHA Newsletter, vol. 71 no. 1, Spring 2014.