Exhibition Prince Polonia curated by Janek Simon and Max Cegielski was presented at the Clark House Initiative in Mumbai. The project was based on the analysis of archive materials concerning relations between Poland and India before 1989.
The exhibition explored relations between the two countries from 1955, when the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, visited Warsaw to sign the agreement defining economic and cultural cooperation, until the beginning of the 1990s, when both countries liberalised their system of government. The official friendship and the 'socialist modernization' discourse reflected the quest for an alternative to the modernity model of the West.
The exhibition was a modified, adapted to the local context version of the exposition Polish-Indian Shop which had been hosted by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in the summer of 2017. It also refered to the performative lecture titled Indian School of Polish Capitalism delivered by the curators on 21st January 2017 at the Nehru Cultural Centre as part of the Pune Biennale.
The presentation included not works of art, but rather a variety of audio-visual culture archives, both official and completely private ones, such as photos, video recordings, books, magazines, caricatures, advertisements, maps etc. Great political narration was juxtaposed with memories of bazaar merchants, archives – with contemporary recordings. In this way, the Indian edition of the exhibition showed traces left by trade relations between the two countries. These ‘aesthetic fingerprints’ certainly included objects such as sets of cut crystal ware brought by Poles to India for sale. The title of the exhibition refered to the Prince Polonia hotel in New Delhi, which served as an operational centre for unofficial Polish-Indian trade at the turn of the 1980's and 1990's.
The exhibition was based on several year’s research the curators carried out in both countries as well as the effects of consultations with their Indian partner, Sumesh Sharma, the artistic director of Clark House Initiative.
Support: Asia and Pacific Museum, Silesian Museum, National Library of Poland, Polish Academy of Sciences, TVP Kultura, Museum of Caricature and Cartoon Art in Warsaw, Association of Polish Architects
Production: Monika Derenda (Poland Studio)
Partner: Adam Mickiewicz Institute