Polish-Indian Shop

  • Polish-Indian Shop

The exhibition "Polish-Indian Shop" focuses on the now forgotten but once very close relationship between the Polish People’s Republic and the Republic of India. This affiliation allowed Poles to take active part in the socialist modernization of India and to be under the influence of the Asian culture. At the same time, networks of unofficial trade and smuggling developed.

"Polish-Indian Shop" summarizes research conducted by an artist Janek Simon and a journalist and writer Max Cegielski. Since the late 1990s, they have travelled to India where they came across records of the historical trade exchange between Poland and the subcontinent. Frequently asked why they didn’t brought crystals, hair dryers or Zenit cameras for sale, they – years later – decided to grasp the phenomenon of the Polish bond with this seemingly exotic culture. Before starting cooperation on the project, they were both interested, among other topics, in the world’s largest graveyard of ships – in the town of Alang in the state of Gujarat. Simon tackled this subject in his work Alang transfer bringing from India a collection of images and information boards belonging to various floating units, while Cegielski employed it in the project Global Prosperity in which – together with a photographer Michał Szlaga – he searched the place for traces of ships built for India in the Vladimir Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk. Both authors – Simon in visual arts, Cegielski in books (beginning with his debut: Masala) – analyzed the historical and contemporary circulation of objects and ideas between the Western peripheries and the East.

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