Our Mythical Childhood...

The Reception of Classical Antiquity in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture in Response to Regional and Global Challenges

Our Mythical Artists

Since the very beginning of the Our Mythical Childhood Programme the artistic aspect has been very important to us. Hence the idea of the picture, painted by Matylda Tracewska (Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, ASP), to symbolize our venture (see above). During the ERC Grant, we continue also our collaboration, initiated in 2012 thanks to the openness of the late Prof. Zygmunt Januszewski (1956–2013) and his students, incl. Jan Rusiński, with the ASP Studio of Book Design and Illustrations, since 2016 directed by Professor Błażej Ostoja Lniski. Owing to this, the participants and guests of the OMC conferences and workshops have the opportunity to admire inspiring exhibitions prepared by the ASP students and graduates on the themes linked to the OMC Project. In 2017, for the conference Our Mythical Hope, they illustrated a choice of myths from Cameroon (for the poster see below, publication forthcoming). In 2019, for the conference Our Mythical History, the ASP students, under the guidance of their teachers Paulina Buźniak, Nastazja Ciupa, and Jan Rusiński, prepared the exhibition Per aspera ad astra, inspired by the ancient maxims (for the poster see below, on the right: the artwork Ab ovo by Marta Rajchemba). The exhibition commemorated the recently deceased Professor Anna M. Komornicka (1920–2018) who alongside her research into Ancient Greek literature and history of ideas, wrote radio shows and books for children to explain to them the meaning of Greek and Latin maxims and expressions. 

For the exhibitions, we are pleased to enjoy the hospitality of Dr. Tomasz Strączek – the custodian of the Gallery of the University of Warsaw (phot. below). 

The OMC Project includes also artistic elements in itself, due to our various ventures linked with the Classical Reception, like the workshops (below, left) on vase paintings by Dr. Sonya Nevin and Steve Simons (Roehampton/Panoply Vase Animation Project), related to their animations and organized each year in May in Warsaw, and the workshops on the Ancient Greek dance by Dr. Helen Slaney (Roehampton, below, right) with the participation of the school students, whom we are pleased to invite to such events. 

The creative elements are also inhaerent in the workshops on mythology and autism (phots. below) led by Prof. Susan Deacy (Roehampton), we have been organizing since two years in Warsaw café Życie Jest Fajne [Life Is Cool], managed by the staff on autism spectrum, at the University of Roehampton and University of Warsaw. 

Our artistic ventures comprise also music, like a concert by two high-schoolers Aleksandra Budzyńska and Mateusz Pięcikiewicz from XI Mikołaj Rej High School in Warsaw (phot. below), during the the conference Our Mythical Hope

Next to the events, during which the students at the beginning of their artistic paths give their performances, we have also the opportunity to collaborate with the mature artists, like within the OMC Seminar in December 2018 on the reception of Caesar in children’s and young adults’ culturewith the participation of our colleagues from the Cluster: The Past for the Present. Our colleague and the Head of the Jury in the video competition Antiquity–Camera–Action, Krzysztof Korwin-Piotrowski, organized with us the concert accompanying the Seminar, Many Languages of Musicby the distinguished composer Rafał Janiak from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music. 

We are also honouerd by the presence of the outstanding Polish writer, Jacek Bocheński, who attends our conferences (below at the presentation of the OMC Project by Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak during the Ciceronian Congress in the German Historical Institute in Warsaw, with Prof. Adam Borkowski from the Societas Humboldtiana Polonorum). 

For 2020, there was an exhibition planned by Zbigniew Karaszewski, a renowned artist and graduate from the ASP in Warsaw, who is also the author of all the artistic logotypes for the Project’s stages (see below). The pandemic changed our time schedule, but not the plans. We will organize the exhibition as soon as the situation permits the gathering of Our Mythical Community in Warsaw. Keep an eye on our website for the new date!

In 2021 the conference Our Mythical Nature: The Classics and Environmental Issues in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture took place – organized in an online format due to the pandemic. A very special collaboration with artists marked this Nature stage of the project. This time our mythical artists were between 5 and 15 years old – children from Belarus and Ukraine, currently living in Warsaw. They created their artworks within the classes in an art studio for children “Цёплы круг” (The Warm Circle) founded by two Belarusian artists from Minsk, graduates of the Belarusian Academy of Fine Arts: Tatiana Karpachova and Liza Mikhadziuk. Our contact took place owing to our team member Dr Hanna Paulouskaya. As a result, we organized the exhibition “Sketching on Olympus”  in the University of Warsaw Gallery. We wish thank its curator – Dr Tomasz Strączek – for his kind hospitality. The young artists showcased works inspired by Greek myths, Nature, but also by the difficult circumstances of the pandemic – thus the experience of art transformed into a quest for hope.

Poster of the exhibition.

Tatiana Karpachova, Liza Mikhadziuk, and Olga Anisko preparing the exhibition.

Władzisława and Michał Racewicz with their artworks (photos published with their consent and the consent of their parents).

As the pandemic limited the audience at the UW Gallery, we placed the whole exihibition also on the Internet. You can see the artworks and read about them in English, Belarusian, and Polish in the post by Olga Anisko (an art historian and the curator of the exhibition) and Hanna Paulouskaya on Our Mythical Childhood Blog. Art knows no borders, just like Our Mythical Community!