It will be an exhibition prepared by women — about women. About what their Sybir looked like and how they remembered it. It will encourage to think and reflect: What did it mean to be a woman in Sybir? What difficulties did women face when they found themselves in a liminal situation? What experiences connect them with the victims of contemporary conflicts?
Finally — is there only pain left for a woman who has experienced violence?
The curators of the exhibition — Karolina Mosiej-Zambrano, PhD, Katarzyna Śliwowska and Magdalena Zięckowska-Tuchlińska — wanted, above all, to emphasize the importance of women’s experience and give a voice to women.
— We wanted to show those elements of the history, experiences of the women of Siberia that are often marginalized and have not been explored before. We wanted to extract fragments of women’s experience from Siberian accounts — says Karolina Mosiej-Zambrano, PhD. — The exhibition is also intended to show that the experiences of women in Siberia are similar to the fate of women who suffered other repressions in another country. History does not repeat itself, but continues, and women are a tool used in conflicts. We want to give a voice to women of Siberia by showing their relationship with women from other times and other places — she adds.
Magdalena Zięckowska-Tuchlińska explains: — When the topic is war, we talk about men, who act, conquer, win. Women are on the margins of it. Even if we are talking about Siberia, we recall the figure of the heroine and the Siberian mother. What is missing is an ordinary woman with her female experience, weaknesses and difficulties. Girls, pubescent women and seniors were also deported. This exhibition aims to show the face of a woman who was carried away by the current of history. No one asked her for her opinion, she ended up in a strange place and had to survive, often weighted down with taking care of others — she says.
— We used not only direct accounts, but also memoirs, sometimes written in retrospect, not by the heroines of the exhibition, but also by their children or companions. The topic of women appears in almost all stories. We show how the narrators saw women and what they remember about them — emphasizes Katarzyna Śliwowska.
The curators invited the representatives of the women of Siberia from Białystok to cooperate in preparing the exhibition. Mrs: Teresa Borowska, Jolanta Hryniewicka, Wanda Kościuczuk, Janina Rutkowska and Barbara Sokólska took on the roles of the ambassadors of the exhibition.
They shared their experiences and reflections with the creators of the exhibition. They also met with the artist, Edyta Urwanowicz, who transformed women’s testimonies — collected by the curators — into a series of moving painting works.
Edyta Urwanowicz was born in 1981 in Białystok. She attended the Artur Grottger State Secondary School of Fine Arts in Supraśl in years 1996-2001. She currently lives and works in Gdańsk. She is a graduate and doctor of the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.
She mainly deals with painting. In her works she is inspired by the form of Eastern carpets and double-warped fabrics and tries to understand values expressed by signs and ornaments. She has participated in various exhibitions in Poland, as well as in Lithuania, Germany and Switzerland.
We invite you to the opening on December 1, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.
A day later, there will be a scientific conference prepared by the Sybir Memorial Museum and the Polish Center for Torture Survivors — ‘Woman And War – Social, Cultural And Psychotraumatological Perspective’. The conference will be held on December 2 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Museum’s multimedia room. E-mail applications for this event are accepted by Karolina Mosiej-Zambrano at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.