New Books Network

Wojtek Sawa

The Wall Speaks

Voices of the Unheard

National Center of Culture 2016

New Books in ArtNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Eastern European StudiesNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books Network June 5, 2018 Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed

Wojtek Sawa‘s The Wall Speaks: Voices of the Unheard (National Center of Culture, 2016) is a bilingual Polish-English project that engages with the intricacies...

Wojtek Sawa‘s The Wall Speaks: Voices of the Unheard (National Center of Culture, 2016) is a bilingual Polish-English project that engages with the intricacies of remembering and forgetting as part of the individual’s personal history, which appears to challenge and collaborate with documented histories. Evolving out of personal memories, The Wall Speaks seeks to illuminate how the individual responds to overwhelming changes that shape and modify not only personal experiences but also collective memories. Although the emphasis is put on specific traumatic events—the core of the narrative constitutes stories of the Polish survivors who lived through World War II—this project reaches to individuals and communities which find themselves in a marginalized condition. The Wall Speaks is about Polish children and teenagers of World War II. It is also about people today who are prohibited from speaking with a voice of their own and are treated as less than fully human.” The personal stories/histories that Sawa assembles contribute to the re-arrangement of historical linearity, as well as to the formation of labyrinth-like connections between generations across time and space.

This publication is part of a broader project that involves exhibitions, installations, and performances organized in museum, galleries, and academic institutions in the United States and Poland. Performative aspects that the project emphasizes invite dialogical communication that serves to maintain memories—personal and collective—and the continuity of humanistic aspirations.