© Horniman Museum and Gardens

Wycinanki: Art of Polish Paper Cuts

A Horniman Museum and Gardens Touring Exhibition

Exhibited from Thursday 1 January - Sunday 1 March, 2015

This exhibition, curated by Justyna Pyz, brings together examples of the Polish folk art, Wycinanki, from the Horniman Museum and Gardens. The works commissioned by the Museum in 2010 include pieces by renowned artists such as Apolonia Nowaka and Czesława Kaczyńska from Kurpie region and Helena Miazek from Łowicz. They are part of the Horniman Museum’s touring exhibition programme which seeks to encourage a wider appreciation of the World, its peoples and their cultures, and its environments.

‘Wycinanki’ or paper cuts are a traditional Polish folk art. They first appeared in the 19th century, when they decorated the inside walls of rural homes. New paper cuts were put up every year at Easter. After the Second World War, the communist regime promoted folk arts and wycinanki became fashionable among city dwellers and foreign tourists. Although paper cuts are no longer used in the original way, there are still practitioners of the craft and traditional motifs often inspire modern artists. They are made almost exclusively by women, who use sheep shearing scissors to cut detailed designs. The examples on display are from two regions known for their traditional crafts. Kurpie produces plain paper cuts and Łowicz specialises in multicoloured designs.

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