Janusz Korczak with his pupils, DS Różyczka, Wawer, 1938, photo courtesy of the Korczakianum Centre for Documentation and Research in Warsaw
The Little Review, a project by American artist Sharon Lockhart will be presented at the Polish Pavilion during the Venice Biennale. The exhibition is inspired by Janusz Korczak’s revolutionary approach to children’s rights and the importance of giving them a voice.
The Little Review is a project by an American artist Sharon Lockhart chosen for the Polish Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. The source of inspiration for the project was the idea of giving a voice to the younger generation, an idea promoted by Janusz Korczak – a prominent Polish-Jewish doctor, pedagogue and writer.
The name of Sharon Lockhart’s project refers to Mały Przegląd (The Little Review), a pre-war supplement to the newspaper Nasz Przegląd (Our Review), written and edited entirely by children. The Mały Przegląd was founded by Korczak, whose revolutionary approach to children’s rights emphasised the need to listen to their voices – an approach which remains innovative even from a contemporary perspective. The Mały Przegląd was published between 1926–1939 and featured sections on politics, sports, and culture, written by children from all over Poland. The children were given a chance to present their broad knowledge and accurate observations about the world around them as well as prove their unique receptivity.
The Little Review by Sharon Lockhart is a multidimensional project, which explores the social dimension of creating art, as well as the need to take notice of and listen to the voice of young people. It is the result of the American artist’s long-term work with the girls of the Youth Centre for Socio-Therapy in Rudzienko, Poland. It reflects Lockhart’s artistic and educational fascination with the philosophy of Korczak, whose work she discovered while working in Poland. At the exhibition in Venice, one will have the opportunity to see her new film and photographs, which she created together with the girls. The exhibition will also include some issues of the Mały Przegląd selected by the girls from Rudzienko and, for the very first time, translated into English. Hanna Wróblewska, the commissioner of the Polish Pavilion and director of the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, the organiser and custodian of the Polish Pavilion in Venice explains the jury’s choice of Lockhart’s project:
Among the various features, which convinced the members of the jury to choose Sharon Lockhart’s project for the presentation at the Polish Pavilion, one element was the most appealing and unique: Sharon Lockhart refers to the history of the life and work of Janusz Korczak but she does not concentrate on the dramatic aspects of his biography for which he is most known. The main goal of her project is to recall the extraordinary quality of Korczak’s pedagogical approach and his teaching method and present it to a worldwide audience. Janusz Korczak created a newspaper, which for 12 years gave a voice to children and was a unique platform for them to express their thoughts and emotions. Sharon Lockhart refers to Korczak’s methods, yet with the use of her owns means of expression. She treats children, who are the main subject of her work, with the respect they deserve.
Special meetings and workshops about Korczak’s life and work will be organised in cooperation with Korczakianum, including discussions with the editors and translators of the compilations of Mały Przegląd. Thanks to the support of the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts, the girls from Rudzienko will have the opportunity to visit the Polish Pavilion in Venice. In September, Sharon Lockhart will take part in the 3rd International Congress on the Rights of the Child and the 8th International Korczak conference at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
The exhibition at the Polish Pavilion during the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia will open to the public on May 13. While the Biennale is on in Venice, a presentation of original copies of the Mały Przegląd will take place at the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art in Warsaw.
The project is organised in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, under its flagship brand Culture.pl.
Source: press materials; compiled by MKD and NR, May 2017
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