Jan Karski bench and Polish artist Olek

Jan Karski was a Polish World War II resistance movement fighter and later a university professor in  Georgetown university.  You can find more about Karski in my previous post.  A statue honoring his  memory   was  unveiled in Georgetown university, Washington D.C.  in 2002.  In New York the copy of the same statue  was unveiled in 2007  in front of the Polish Consulate in Manhattan. You can read about  Polish Consulate, former Joseph Raphael De Lamar House in my blog.

This summer Polish artist Olek crocheted  the Jan Karski statue  at the Polish Consulate in New York.  The project was intended to honor the memory of the Polish hero on the fifteenth anniversary of his death. Olek is known for dressing the iconic Charging Bull of Wall Street and ‘yarn bombing’ everything from the Cube in Astor Place to a locomotive in Łódź to a minotaur in Switzerland.

  She said : “The broad appeal of my work invariably sparks second thought, even awe, by being accessible and playful. I accepted the invitation from the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York to transform the “Jan Karski bench” because I felt that Mr. Karski’s life and accomplishments should be revisited. By dressing this important piece of public art in a new skin, which was crocheted on location, I hope to spark people’s curiosity as to who the “crocheted” man was, and highlight the heroic actions of this great Pole who risked his life to, among other things, tell the world about the atrocities of World War II. I am honored to be part of this large-scale promotion of Jan Karski, a man whose actions and achievements should never be forgotten.”

Albert Einstein, Washington D.C.
In July 2012  Olek covered the National Academy of Science’s Albert Einstein Memorial (Washington D.C.)  in pink and purple crocheted fabric. Olek says  that Einstein, for her, was an easy choice since he was such a creative thinker himself. “I thought he might have a sense of humor about it,” she says. DC didn’t—Olek’s work was removed within hours.

Charging Bull , NY
At this point, Olek has assistants in New York and Poland whom she has trained and who help her “with crocheting different patterns” for her monumental works, most recently:  the large traditional Hawaiian canoe, the women’s shelter in New Delhi (for which she also hired local women), and the Jan Karski statue and bench in front of the Polish General Consulate in New York.
Monument in Santiago
Earlier this year during the  Festival in Santiago, Chile,  Olek  covered  obelisk at the center of Plaza Baquedano  in a rainbow colored crocheted design to highlight the issue of equality.

This  year  she’s going to begin “a huge public project, involving the community and talking about environmental issues and recycling” with the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.

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