journey is an interesting one that begins in her native Poland,
during the worst communist period, then to Morocco where she
lived for 22 years, married a Muslim, separated, and finally
found refuge with her three children and the freedom to create
in Quebec, Canada.
Jolanta' s story is a clear demonstration of tenacious survival
in the face of extreme deprivation and creation as a healing
spirit. Her early years in Poland were marked by fear and
disappointment. In school, her first book had a picture of
Stalin on its first page, and the caption read that he loved
children and that he was their loving uncle. The reality was
that an entire nation was being held hostage, lived in fear
and suffered shortages of the most basic requirements.
ambitions were impossible but Jolanta's dreams of becoming
a journalist so as to be able to travel and speak about Poland
that was impossible to speak out loud motivated kept her looking
for ways to escape. As a very young child she was chosen to
play violin; "That opened a whole new universe for me.
Through music I discovered the world of imagination and beauty,
a different reality and helped me endure the repressive one
I was actually living."
studied English Philology at university but in 1968 got involved
with spirit of rebellion and anger that wanted change and
a better life. After participating in a protest occupation
which police handled with beatings, tear gas and arrests she
was threatened with expulsion and almost lost faith in the
possibility of change. She had met and fallen in love with
a Moroccan diplomat whom she married, with the hopes of a
better life, only to discover that she had traded one form
of repression for another. In male oriented Islamic Morocco,
she discovered that she had no rights but for 22 years did
not give up striving for freedom which finally came in 1990.
During those years she was learning languages: English, French
and Arabic, working and finding solace in music.
Jolanta's freedom began when she arrived in Quebec,Canada;
her creativity could finally be nurtured and explored and
came to fruition when she met and fell in love with her mentor,
David Moore. They now happily live and create in a large Quebec
farmhouse and barn-cum exhibition space, where they continue
to explore their mutual love of music and art. His faith in
her artistic abilities have given her the courage to believe
in her art. From the timid small stone installations realized
on a Greek island, Jolanta now commands entire rooms with
her sparkling installations.
artists, Jolanta Sprawka and Hazel Bryce, demonstrate a spiritual
process of repetition, reflection and connection with their
materials which represents the archetypical image of women's
work. The concentration required to realize long term creative
goals is not exclusively feminine, but women are most often
associated with weaving or knitting etc. and their materials
are traditionally humble such as wool or clay.
asked Jolanta if her choice of materials informs the kind
of work she produces. "The connection with the material
is fundamental. My choice of cellophane is motivated by its
qualities, such as transparence, lightness, light capture
and malleability. I always use malleable materials. The ‘gesture’
in my work is an integral element of my process. It is repetitive,
it has it's own sequence of steps like interweaving, attachment
and suspension. The action of interweaving is essential; it
is a marker of time and becomes like a mantra. There is also
a very feminine component to these weaving actions. I feel
that somehow the work evolves in time and space of its own
volition. My intent and wish, when I'm transforming a gallery
space, is that the installation becomes an instrument that
allows the viewer to connect with his or her senses by creating
a specific atmosphere. I invite viewers to connect with their
emotions and personal reflection. I try not to suggest what
the work represents, therefore, allowing each visitor to explore
their own reactions and sensations."
Jolanta as she examines her installation entitled Refuge
reuse and re-purpose have become the mantra of our times,
and artists are embracing these concepts with a passion. Jolanta
Sprawka creates site specific environments with bio-degradable
cellophane. Hazel Bryce creates her large beautiful sculptures
with newspaper papier mâche.The passion and dedication
they both bring to their work is an inspiration and feast
for the senses. Before our very eyes opened wide, they have
turned life's adversity into stunning creativity.
All images Copyright © Jolanta
Sprawka and Hazel Bryce