ARTeriais an artistic organization established in April 2009, and initiated by Nowy Czas (New Times) magazine in London.
ARTeria showcase works by artists representing a cross section of current movements in the visual arts today and reflects a fresh approach to the diverse Polish art scene. This very diversity of Polish art enhances the appeal of ARTeria shows, both from the philosophical and from the social point of view.
The philosophical questions inherent within the multigenerational range of exhibitors address age-old dilemmas, such as whether contemporary art represents a clear break from tradition or whether, try hard as he might, no young artist can escape its shackles…
The sociological questions contemplated by the English and the Polish visitor alike, are to do with the vision of the world from the perspective of Polish artists working (and living) in London; the first and foremost being:
What, if anything, has an émigré artist got to contribute to the host community?
Is this artist’s „otherness” expressed in his work? Is his vision sharpened by virtue of being an outsider, or have the younger Polish artists in England ‘gone native’ by now?


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ARTeria – a brilliant initiative of the editors of Nowy Czas – established itself very nearly of the southern end of London Bridge. As a platform for the visual and performing arts it served as a bridge building event
introducing Polish artists to the London audience. My current contribution references patterns of Renzo Piano SHARD, which sprang up recently next door to London Bridge and overshadows former ARTeria premises in Borough High Street. The piece is dedicated to the memory of a great British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro and in the way I regard it as my personal bridge building in the cultural life of Polish community in this country.

As a photographer I am fascinated by the City of London – its
energy, its role as a gateway to a globalising world, its exuberance and the controversy associated with it. My latest works show two parallel words which are very close and far apart at the same time – bankers and wild, bloodthirsty animals who coexist together. The City is a game of appearances, a world of illusion where people are hiding their true-selves behind a mask. My work is an attempt to create a bridge between City life and the reality we all live in.

London is a hub of multiculturalism, an essential base for the freedom of thoughts and a trigger for creativity. It acts as a stage for the daily events of an individual and a crossroad of different persons’ fates. It is in between the world of chromatic Victorian houses and the glass and steel of contemporary objects that we realise our dreams; we ponder various doctrines, confront religions and awaken our curiosity of the Other. The versatility of the language of art is like a helping hand that reaches out to bridge across the gaps in translation and arrives at a universally understood record of the beats of pulsating city life.

Is London a Bridge? …No, London is not a bridge. London is a planet… self contained universe kept together by bridges…

A bridge connects two sides like life connects strangers. For us a bridge which connected us was art, passion for life and then something more… a family we built here together. London is not a bridge – it  is a maze of  bridges which connects people and culture from every corner of the world.

Contemporary art is open for interpretation – the judgment and perception belongs to the viewer. I try to avoid description of my work as I believe it can distort the viewer’s interpretation and emotional reflex. However, I will explain directions and connections to the theme of this exhibition, Is London a Bridge? London is a very particular place on the map, where the cross-pollination of so many cultures creates energy, intensity and spirit, which acts as a catalyst, a stimulant, giving the artist a platform for enormous sensitivity and responsiveness. London is a place of extremes, disturbing yet fascinating. It is a vast hot melting pot where there is no identifiable individual culture or tradition. This cosmopolitan environment allows one to see the world clearly, without prejudice. However, this lack of a strong imbedded lost culture is what makes the creative force here so strong and powerful, free from religious and political corruption. Ironically, art has become a commodity itsef.

Is London a Bridge? For some.… a bridge too far. Cycling to work every day along the Grand Union Canal I am blessed with beautiful views of a tranquil, slow moving body of water, teeming with birdlife and conveying to the eye what pleasure nature can
behold. Along the cycle path however, one can witness that for some, nature on its own is not enough to bring joy to the soul.

Bridging the divide between a lad from Leeds and a London artist is a body of work spanning 30 years. My most recent exhibition at The Montage Gallery in SE23 (run by two Polish artists – Paweł Wąsek and Joanna-Szwej-Hawkin) represented a crossing into uncharted South East London; A new space to show work that was created in response to crossing the river to interact with a female consumerism outside of my normal masculine shopping patterns.

My work is for upcoming Spaghetti Cinema (‘Horror’ edition), an annual film festival & conference focusing on Italian films from the 60s and 70s. Thanks to this event, I had the pleasure to do what I enjoy most about the creative world: collaborating with  other creatives from different backgrounds. This is my London Bridge.

Karl Marx in A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy said: ”Mankind always sets itself only such problems as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, it will always be found that the task itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation”, (1859). I would never ponder on it had I not come to London.

London is a place full of surprises. You can meet here creatures from the future, never ending dogs and daydreaming extraterrestrials. London-bridge between waking and the world of dreams…

My first employment after arriving back from Africa to the UK was with Lock/Pettersen, a graphic design group. Tor Pettersen interviewed me and took a chance on taking on somebody different, as he said, not a pure graphic designer he was used to. He kept saying ‘Joanna, you are a painter.’ The result of the meeting was the running zebra. The task was to design an identity for BT’s digital Business Network. After spending a whole day on the zebras and trying to make them look digital, the night-cleaner came, and thought that my drawings and photocopies laying around were rubbish, so she threw out most of the work. I was left with some wobbly drawings, which I desperately tried to correct in the morning. Hence, the ‘special effect’ of the zebras. Years later, this herd of zebras became ‘E-Migration. Will I make it?’ and run all the way to the Royal Academy where the whole edition was sold within two days, and is now in Robert Hiscox Collection. This work would have never existed without Tor’s showing me which bridge to cross.

I am a Pole brought up in England. I am a member of Polish as well as British art organizations. I feel at ease with Poles and English people – there is no difference, and my sculptures are the result of living within the two cultures. Polish – conveying deep emotions, and English – one of  discipline and patience. These simultaneous experiences conveyed in my sculptures are the bridge between the two cultures.

I was once in New York at the exhibition of Camille Corot in Metropolitan Museum. The last big room was totally empty. On the white wall there was a huge sign: All  I want to do in my life is to paint peysages. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot  Then I had a thought: All I want to do in my life is to paint portraits. And I do. Only lately the Polish Hearth Club distracted me a bit… I am definitely standing on a bridge between Poland and London. I was lucky to paint many members of the British Royal Family and many prominent people in this country. I feel that my portraits are a melting pot for both nationalities and the Polish Hearth Club is our headquarter – supporting and beating heart.


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