Edward Dwurnik “Polish Emblem – Cancer Patient”, 1986, oil on canvas, 146 x 114 cm
“Who are you? A Polish child. What’s your emblem? The Eagle in White”. In this painting from 1986, Edward Dwurnik referred to Władysław Bełza’s patriotic 19th century poem, but also to the contemporary propaganda of success: in Poland, every citizen is cared for, everyone has the right to work, and the rights of individual are respected.
The “cancer patient” in Dwurnik’s painting raises his fist in a gesture of protest. Dwurnik, in a mocking, powerful work, shows Poland in the second half of the eighties during the economic crisis, the collapse of the welfare system, and delayed progress. Society was still stuck in the ossified system of the Eastern Bloc, politically and culturally isolated from the West. A “second head”, characteristic of the artist’s painting at that time, appears in the painting. It grows up and falls out of the body is its affective double, symbolising a scream of rage.
This is one of five canvases by Edward Dwurnik (1943–2018) in our collection.