Bucha. Paintings by Andrzej Fogtt

Thou shalt not be indifferent.

On 24 February 2022, we woke up to a new reality. Russia invaded Ukraine. In the days, weeks and months that followed, we watched—and we are still watching—images which made us think of the past that we hoped was irretrievably gone: the Second World War. 

When we began working on the exhibition “Around Us a Sea of Fire. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising,” we decided to focus on the experiences of approximately 50,000 civilians who were trapped in the ghetto when the Uprising broke out, and to tell the story of the Uprising from the perspective of the Jews hiding in bunkers. 

We tell this story with today’s world in mind, too—we think of people whose houses are on fire, people forced to flee to foreign lands to seek refuge for themselves and their loved ones, people who feel lonely, helpless and abandoned. We tell this story fully aware of the fact that we mustn’t be indifferent in the face of evil that is happening around us. That is why the exposition ends with Marian Turski’s speech delivered during the ceremony held on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, in which he reminded us that if we are indifferent, if we do not oppose evil, “another Auschwitz will fall upon us from the sky.”

On 24 February 2023, on the anniversary of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, POLIN Museum presents the works of Andrzej Fogtt from the series titled “Bucha.” The artist painted them to express his objection to the criminal actions and the atrocities of war. Commenting on the series and referring to “Goya’s Disasters of War,“ Marian Turski wrote:

“The two centuries that have passed since Goya produced a galaxy of painters—from both the East and the West—for whom the atrocities of war, the deplorable military actions pose a threat to the mankind and to humanity. I add Andrzej Fogtt to the list of artists who raise the voice of dissent.”

Andrzej Fogtt is a painter, graphic artist and theoretician of art. Based in the Praga district of Warsaw, he graduated from the State School of Fine Arts in Poznań in 1974, in the class of Prof. Zdzisław Kępiński and Prof. Magdalena Abakanowicz. In 2009, he was awarded the Gloria Artis medal for his contribution to Polish culture by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. He participated in numerous individual and group exhibitions, and his works are held in both museum and private collections.