patRiot Girl

patRiot Girl

The patRIOT Girl deals with the issue of patriotism, shown through the attitudes of specific Polish women who lived in the turn of 19th and 20th century. The inspiration for the photography was a book entitled Polish Terrorists written by Wojciech Lada, in which the author describes attacks on tsarist officials organized on Polish lands annexed by the Russian Empire at that time. The attacks sometimes were effective, but very often ineffective and caused the death of accidental victims. Women were significantly involved in this activity, not only by distributing illegal printed material, but also by smuggling weapons, ammunition and, for example, throwing bombs from balconies.
The title includes the word RIOT, deliberately written in capital letters. It raises the question as to whether the Polish riot-girls proved the emancipation of women or on the contrary, whether their commitment and abilities were used to support a concept of patriotism based on a patriarchal narrative.

The artwork fits into the current vivid debate about the notion of patriotism in relation to such a concepts as sovereignty, nation, struggle. It provokes the question: What is the position of Polish patriotism with regard to unrest and changes in contemporary Europe and how do women themselves perceive their role in this situation?
Anka Leśniak

* photo-collage inspired by Anka Leśniak 's project Women patRIOTs, 2016

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