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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » August 1, 2013
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Artists Against GMOs
August 1, 2013   
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A new Zachęta gallery exhibition called GMOs Kill Honey takes on the controversial topic of genetically modified organisms—sometimes with no punches spared.

The exhibition is an artistic response to regulations that permitted grain from genetically modified plants to be registered and sold in Poland. The regulations were signed into law by Polish President Bronisław Komorowski in December.

The exhibition—at the Zachęta gallery’s Project Room venue in Warsaw—features videos and other work by students of multimedia artist and educator Łukasz Skąpski. Some of the artists are widely known in Poland and have taken part in various exhibitions and art festivals. They include Małgorzata Goliszewska, whose Dress Me movie has won a number of awards, and cartoonist and comic book author Mikołaj Tkacz, who made a name for himself while still in high school.

According to Skąpski, who curates the exhibition, the average consumer is unaware of the risks related to genetically modified food, because producers of such food are doing their best to keep the public misinformed. “By choosing this topic, I wanted to get my students and the public interested in it, prompting them to investigate the problem on their own,” said Skąpski.

Some of the items and projects on display were created specially for the exhibition. As he encouraged his students to take on the subject of GMOs, Skąpski says he made sure the exhibition would not assume a patronizing tone.

Alongside transgenic crops, items selected for the exhibition also deal with manmade disasters and related threats.

Skąpski has contributed his own project to the exhibition. The title, This Is What the Honey Bee Looked Like, says it all: bees are dying out all over the world. This alarming phenomenon, known as the colony collapse disorder, has become widespread in the United States and parts of China. It is so serious that some plants now need to be hand-pollinated by people instead of bees, the artist says. In Poland, colony collapse disorder first occurred two years ago, according to Skąpski. Some scientists believe mankind will only survive for four years if bees become extinct, while according to others, people will last for a year at most. Many beekeepers argue the honey bee should be declared an endangered species.

Until Aug. 25
Zachęta Project Room; 3 Gałczyńskiego St.
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