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PEA’s new project – Public Art Erdington

Date uploaded: December 16, 2013

Polish Expats Association (PEA) has commissioned artist Joanna Rajkowska to create a public art project in Erdington. Rajkowska is an internationally acclaimed artist, based in London. She has achieved international recognition for her public art commissions – most recently her work was displayed in London as the part of Frieze Projects (2012). Her most famous work is the 15-meter-tall artificial palm tree installed in the city centre of Warsaw, called Greetings from Jerusalem Avenue. Since then, the palm tree has become a landmark of Warsaw. Rajkowska describes the sense of her activity as building relationships with other people. She often sets up the context of a meeting, allowing it to be an open experience.

Rajkowska will undertake a residency in Erdington, during which she will learn about the specificity of the district and will come with a concept of the work. Following a public consultation this process will be inaugurated with an installation. The work is estimated to reach completion in May 2014 and updates will be provided throughout the process on our website. A seminar on public art will be organised in Erdington to coincide with the revelling of Rajkowska’s installation in spring. Special guest speakers include Jonathan Watkins (Ikon Gallery). Three Erdington-based workshops aimed specifically at adults will be held to explore Rajkowska’s commission through discussion and creative activities.

The first opportunity to meet with the artist will be the book launch of her new book Where the Beast is Buried, taking place on the 29th of January 2014 from 6.30 till 7.30pm, at the Ikon Gallery. The artist will be in conversation with Michaela Crimmin, an independent curator, producer, and tutor at the Royal College of Art. To book click here to visit Ikon’s website.

Public Art Erdington is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.

PEA’s Art programme has a strong focus on visual art featuring artists from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as artists interested in the region, its specificity, culture, history and socio-political situation. PEA works with internationally acclaimed as well as early career artists, showing their work during exhibitions and screenings in a pop-up gallery in various locations of Birmingham.

PEA is a non-profit organisation set up in October 2009 to support adaptation and integration of Poles in the UK. Since April 2012 PEA is registered as Community Interest Company and has widened services to support other Central and Eastern European communities in the UK. Their activities consist of two arms: social support and art & culture. PEA increases engagement with contemporary art, film and music and promote community cohesion through especially curated programme involving exhibitions, screenings, artists’ talks, workshops, free family activities, concerts and networking meetings. PEA does not have a permanent budget, only budget for specific projects. PEA does not employ full-time employees, and operations are based on voluntary activity. PEA maintains their activities through projects, volunteer work and the commitment of their founders. PEA responds to an urgent need to fill the gap that exists in the West Midlands to support and promote Polish and other Central and Easter European communities and their culture.

A steering group made up of Council representatives and members of Erdington and wider Birmingham community groups and organisations will be set up to oversee the commission of a new artwork. The steering group will be working alongside PEA, who has commissioned the process.

Joanna Rajkowska (born 1968) is a Polish artist based in London, working with objects, films, photography, installations, ephemeral actions, and widely discussed interventions in public space.
She critically engages with the legacy, politics and aesthetics of land art and employs the strategy of unfamiliarity as a political tool whilst focusing on the body and language as the foundations of social relationships. Her works often function as social sculptures in which collective memory, tensions and desires might be manifested as public monuments interwoven into the urban tissue. Activating layers of meanings (both historical and ideological), they provoke and reveal lines of conflicts, but also serve as platforms for dialogue. Rajkowska’s artwork has been presented in the UK, Germany, Poland, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Sweden, US, Palestine and Turkey, among others. Her public projects include comissions by CCA Zamek Ujazdowski (2007, Oxygenator, Poland), Trafo Gallery (2008, The Airways, Hungary), Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2009, Ravine, Poland), The Showroom (2010, Chariot, UK), British Council (2010, Benjamin in Konya, Turkey), 7th Berlin Biennale (2012, Born in Berlin, Germany), Royal Society of Arts, Citizen Power Peterborough programme’s Arts and Social Change, Arts Council England (2012, unrealised project, The Peterborough Child, UK) and Frieze Projects 2012 (2012, Forcing a Miracle, UK).

Click here for more information.

Joanna Rajkowska, Greetings from Jerusalem Avenue, installation, 2002 – ongoing © the artist

Joanna Rajkowska, Greetings from Jerusalem Avenue, installation, 2002 – ongoing © the artist