Art project and cinema season mark Polish independence anniversary - The Rugby Observer

Art project and cinema season mark Polish independence anniversary

Rugby Editorial 14th Mar, 2019   0

A TRADITIONAL paper chandelier created by Rugby’s Polish community has gone on display at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

The pajaki project was the brainchild of artist Michaela McMillan, who secured a £1,000 grant from Rugby Borough Council in 2018 to work with the town’s Polish community to mark the centenary of Poland regaining independence after the First World War.

Michaela held a series of workshops at the town’s Saturday Polish School and a family workshop at the Art Gallery and Museum during the project, which was inspired by the Polish folk art and craft tradition of making pajaki decorations to celebrate Christmas, Easter and other special occasions.

Pajaki, or ‘spiders of straw’, date back to the 18th century and comprise colourful and carefully cut pieces of paper and rye straw. The decorations were created by farming families during the winter when cold weather meant work was in short supply.

Michaela said: “The aim of the project was to explore the culture and heritage of Rugby’s Polish community and celebrate the cultural diversity of the town.

“While the tradition of pajaki has started to die out in Poland, it has been embraced by the arts and crafts community in Britain in recent years and the project was a great opportunity to engage the town’s Polish community with an important part of Poland’s heritage.”

The pajaki remains on display in the Art Gallery and Museum’s foyer until May 4.

The council’s annual grants to community and voluntary organisations support a wide range of projects.

Organisations can now apply online for a Community Projects Grant or a grant from the council’s Rural Development Fund on the council’s website.

Rugby Borough Council’s communities and homes spokeswoman Coun Emma Crane said: “Community and voluntary organisations make a vital contribution to the borough and our grants aim to support a diverse range of projects which make a real difference to the lives of residents.”

Applications for this year’s grants close on Sunday March 31. Visit to apply.


Polskie Kino organiser Phil Shepherd and Mayor Tom Mahoney.

A SEASON of Polish cinema is underway at the Benn Hall to celebrate the centenary of Poland regaining independence following the end of the First World War.

Mayor Tom Mahoney joined with Polish friends at the opening night of Polskie Kino (‘Polish Cinema’), a month-long season which also celebrates this year’s 250th anniversary of formal relations between Poland and Great Britain.

Former soldier Coun Mahoney, who served with the Queen’s Own Hussars cavalry regiment, spoke of his regiment’s joint activities with the Poles in Italy during the Second World War.

Polskie Kino continues to show Polish films with English subtitles each Wednesday evening in March at the Benn Hall. Polish and English speakers are welcome. Call Phil or Katarzyna on 01788 341066 for more information.

The not-for-profit organisation, established to promote friendship through cinema in Rugby, is planning more activities throughout the year.


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