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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » January 16, 2008
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Icons of War and Suffering
January 16, 2008 By Dariusz Pietrzak   
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Ewa Harabasz's exhibition Icons of Suffering at the Arsenał Gallery in Poznań features works based on photographs of war and disasters carried in the media, mainly in the press. One of the works depicts a soldier who, like the Madonna, hugs a naked child, but holds a rifle at the same time. The soldier's head is reminiscent of a target seen through a sniper's telescopic sight. The figure has a halo and has been painted on a golden background, alluding to Byzantine icons or sacred art from the Middle Ages.

Scenes from wars in Bosnia and Iraq and the terrorist attack on the London subway take on a religious character here. You can see Harabasz's criticism of the fact that the victims of war and disasters become media icons against their will. Or rather, they are contemporary icons of war and suffering. The paintings of suffering are both tragic and visually attractive. They create interest, which is sometimes combined with disgust. Harabasz was born in Częstochowa in southern Poland and works as an artist in the United States. She often superimposes people from the front pages of The New York Times onto images of Orthodox Catholic saints, and combines photographic prints with old painting techniques on wood. Harabasz has had many solo and group exhibitions in Poland, the United States, Greece and China.

Arsenał Gallery, Stary Rynek 3, Poznań, until Jan. 27.
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