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Jan Sawka, Illumination #2, 2006, acrylic on masonite, ©Jan Sawka Estate.
A retrospective exhibition

Thursday, September 12, 2013 - Saturday, December 14, 2013

Opening reception:
Thursday, September 12, 7:00 pm
at Gallery Aferro

Jan Sawka's New Media Screening:
Saturday, October 19, 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 9, 5:00 pm
at Gallery Aferro

Symposium on the work of Jan Sawka
organized in partnership with Rutgers University:
Saturday, November 16, 1-5 pm
Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers University
350 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Newark, NJ

Gallery Aferro
73 Market Street, Newark, NJ
Admission: Free and open to public 

Reflections on Everyman: The Work of Jan Sawka  - a retrospective exhibition, curated by Evonne M. Davis and Hanna Maria Sawka, celebrating the life and work of artist Jan Sawka - will open at Newark's Gallery Aferro on September 12, 2013.

Jan Sawka (1946-2012) continually articulated the struggle for freedom in his artwork for reasons both universal and personal: his early life was overshadowed by his father's Stalin-era political imprisonment of seven years, and Sawka was himself exiled from Poland as a result of his activism through his art. Contrasted with his exuberance and humor, Sawkas politics in his oeuvre could be sharp and biting, although not always apparent at first glance. Exile did not silence his voice. In 1981, when martial law was imposed in Poland, millions of copies of his Solidarity posters were sold in a bi-partisan fundraiser led by the AFL-CIO, the proceeds of which provided immediate support to besieged Polish dissidents.

The fall show at Gallery Aferro comprises of over thirty works that embody Jan Sawka's concern for the human condition in the contemporary world. The title, Reflections on Everyman, points to the recurring motif of an anonymous figure at times with wings present in a majority of his works. The silhouette is a stand-in for every one of us. Sawka himself once explained that this figure represents not only the freedom of flight, but also openness and consequent vulnerability On view there will be a number of large-scale paintings, prints and sculptures. The remarkable variety of his output (which additionally encompasses light works, sculpture, etching, engraving, editorial illustration, books, architectural installation, record covers, multimedia presentations, and stage design) makes Sawka hard to classify. As the artist himself stated in an 1983 interview, I have no idea which trend of art I represent. Nothing interests me less.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog with an essay written by Kara L. Rooney, Associate Art Editor for The Brooklyn Rail. Gallery Aferro will also present a screening of Jan Sawka's latest project The Voyage on October 19th, 2013 at 7:30pm. On November 16, 2013 organized by Gallery Aferro in partnership with Rutgers University will present a symposium at The Paul Robeson Galleries the work of the artist.

Presented by the Gallery Aferro in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York, and with support by the Polish American Business Club and the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union.

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