Between May 4-31, Krakow will drown in photos. It is all because of the annual festival of photography, Photomonth, one of the most important events for photographers worldwide. Organized for the fifth time this year, Photomonth will gather some of the best known artists like Martin Parr, Anders Petersen, Oliver Sieber, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.
The festival?s program is split into five divisions.
The first one is a presentation of a special guest country, which this year is Germany. Beside the exhibition of classic German photographer August Sander (1876-1964), spectators will be able to see the achievements and trends of young photographers from beyond the western border of Poland. Contemporary Art Gallery, Rynek Szczepanski 3a; Open Tu-Wed, Fri-Sun 11:00-18:00 and Thu 11:00-20:00 from May 4- June 6.
The second division is the ?Main Program.? 19 individual exhibitions are prepared either by the organizers of Photomonth or by invited custodians. This year, the honor goes to Mark Power, a member of the famous Magnum Agency.
The photographic group entitled ?Distinguishing Marks? are all connected with the problems of self-identity, individuality and esprit de corps. Mark Power has designated his cycle ?Theaters of War.? It addresses the topic of terrorism and its global threat. The Schindlera?s Factory, ul. Lipowa 4; Open Mon-Fri 15:00-19:00 and Sat-Sun 13:00-19:00 from May 5-31.
In the festival?s third division, the program organizers provided for some guest projects.
The first of them will be ?The Red Tent? by Magdalena Przezdziak-Betlej and Katarzyna Zebrowska from the Luksfera Gallery. Goetz Palace, old Okocim Brewery, ul. Lubicz 17; Open Tue-Fri 14:00-19:00 and Sat-Sun 12:00-19:00 from May 5-31.
The second guest project is an exhibition of Tomasz Gudzowaty and Judit Berekai photographs. Apartment IV and V, ul. Sebastiana 16/2 and 16/8; Open Tue-Fri 16:00-19:00 and Sat-Sun 14:00-19:00 from May 5-31.
The third project presents ?Physiognomy?s Return,? showcasing the various forms of portraiture. It is organized by the Pro Helvetio Foundation.
Off-program is the forth division of Photomonth. Works presented in this part will be selected from projects submitted by young artists, who are just gaining their first experiences on the art market.
Off-program works are usually exhibited in interior locations such as clubs, pubs and cafes. They become an integral element of the space, allowing the spectator to spontaneously associate with modern art.
To culminate the program of exhibitions, organizers took care to arrange for plenty of accompanying events like slideshows, concerts, documentary film shows, lectures and meetings with best-known photographers. For those who are not only keen on looking at photos but also taking them, interesting courses will be lead by professional photographers.
Also, those who have been taking photos for a bit longer will be able to show their output to professionals during portfolio reviews. Moreover, Photomonth offer a unique chance to see places like Goetz Palace in the old Okocim brewery or the interiors of Schindler?s Factory ?Emalia? (made world famous in Spielberg?s movie). Both are usually unavailable to visitors.
A detailed program of Photomonth events is available on the website: www.photomonth.pl. It all sounds like May will be a great photo-feast.
Poetry and Music Festival
Everyone involved in Nowa Huta?s cultural life waits anxiously for this event. The district, which was built 50 years ago as a workers? enclave, had a cultural life during the Communist era. It languished for awhile after independence.
But each year more ideas pop up about how to breathe cultural life back into Nowa Huta. The music and poetry festival started 11 years ago as a musical event only, then branched into poetry.
These days, various artists are presenting classical music such as Vivaldi pieces as well as religious, medieval and chamber music. In addition, the works of Polish poets such as the late Pope John Paul II are being recited.
This year?s featured attraction is Grzegorz Turnau, a well-known Krakow musician, singer and composer. He will devote his final recital entitled ?A Story of a Certain Trip? to the late composer Marek Grechuta, whose songs were also based on poems.
Turnau and his band will perform both pieces that Turnau wrote to honor Grechuta plus some of Grechuta?s songs.
Mrs. Wieslawa Wykurz is one of the founders of the festival. She and others associated with the Cyprian Kamil Norwid Culture Center wanted an event to revive cultural life in Nowa Huta.
?We wanted our own professional event, promoting various kinds of music,? she said. ?In spring everything wakes to life, there?s positive energy all around, and we want to pass it on to people.?
This year musicians and poetry reciters are performing at churches such as St. Bartholomew, St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Cistercian church. There are also orchestra performances, choir performances and chamber-music performances.
And there are plans for performances of young musicians, perhaps in the restored Światowid cinema.
?It would be a joyful and spontaneous sign of bringing Światowid back to life as a cultural place,? Mrs. Wykurz said.
She added: ?We encourage people to commune with music and poetry, and try to see places of beauty and uniqueness in Nowa Huta. We are proud of the district, and we want to show it to everybody.?
And in fact, beautiful places such as the churches of St. Bartholomew in Mogiła, a part of Nowa Huta, or the Cistercians basilica are inviting concert venues.
The Cistercian Fathers have joined in the festive mood by agreeing to allow visitors to stroll through their beautiful gardens on concert days. One of the best parts of the festival is that all events are free ? with one exception.
Those who want to attend the grand finale concert in Ludowy Theather must receive an invitation and buy tickets.
A review of film musicals is being held in conjunction with the festival.
The ?Music Weekend? will include a special attraction ? a soundless version of ?The Cat and Canary.? The Mittal Steel Company?s Polish orchestra will provide accompaniment to the film.
Yiddish Hejmisj Zain choir to perform free
The Amsterdam-based Hejmisj Zain choir will give a free concert in the Temple-Synagogue on ul. Miodowa on Thursday May 10 at 19:30.The fifty-person choir will perform a repertoire of Yiddish songs, mostly originating from Eastern Europe and the United States.
The songs tell of love, sadness and the struggle for daily existence. The chants range from simple lullabies to traditional melodies, all sharing their roots in Jewish history and culture.
The choir has built a sound reputation in the Netherlands. Years ago, the choir began performing at Jewish family-gatherings at the intimate Anthony Theater in Amsterdam. This accounts for the name Hejmisj Zain (Yiddish for ?being at home?). Today, the choir gives concerts throughout the Netherlands.
The choir has participated in television-programs of the Jewish Broadcasting Organization and programs about Yiddish language and culture.
This year, the choir celebrates its 15th birthday as an acclaimed choir with a professional advisory staff under the guidance of conductor Jules Bart.
The concert in Krakow is connected with their visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp. For choir members, the concert at the Temple-Synagogue carries a positive and personal meaning.
The choir hopes to witness the vibrancy of Jewish life that still exists in Poland. The concert will commence at 19:30 at the Temple-Synagogue.
The choir will sing 20 well-known and lesser-known Yiddish songs. Before each song there will be a short explanation of its contents and background in Polish and English. The concert will last until 21:30.