The Local Artist

The local artist is a crucial modification of the critical artist figure, with its postulate of combat for social change on the macro scale. Here we have an artist with close ties to activities within the boundaries of and to the benefit of a local community he or she is a part of. Such an artist does not refer to any abstract “society”, preferring to work with someone specific, well-known, usually a neighbour. Thus, he or she is consistent in participating (for years) in the process of developing an identity, or myth even, for a given place and/or community; he or she is concerned with following and introducing changes as they approach.

Here we have an inventive contemporary version of an art positivist, focusing on small-scale change rather than on attempts to alter the whole world. The local artist usually operates in a non-urban, peripheral context. We believe such is the nature of Paulina Ołowska’s work in Raba Niżna, especially of her local puppet theatre projects. Daniel Rycharski’s work in his local context of Kurówek and neighbouring villages is similar – he organises various exhibitions in the area. Paweł Althamer’s related activities are noteworthy as well: he has been working at and with his local housing estate of Bródno, Warsaw, for years.