We invite you the unveiling of Ziemia!
Saturday, June 9th
Russell St. between Nassau Ave and Driggs Ave
Join us for the opening reception to celebrate the public art project made in collaboration with Greenpoint residents. The afternoon will consist of art workshops, live music, and local Polish food.
Ziemia: Our Stories Are Written in Soil is a public-art project created in collaboration with residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. In the form of a ceramic sphere atop a native meadow in McGolrick Park, the piece aims to bridge divides between the neighborhood’s disparate subcultures by serving as a collective portrait of the community through embodying residents' personal homelands and migration stories.
Greenpoint is currently experiencing a demographic transformation as gentrification pushes out many longtime residents. With the rising displacement and relocation of peoples across the world, Ziemia is responding to the need for collective reflection in communities on migration as not merely a global phenomenon, but as a local, micro experience that unites us all.
Community members from various backgrounds, cultures and socio-economic classes were invited to select and provide soil samples from specific, personally meaningful locations that they have left behind or that embody their identity. Participants contributed sites from across the United States and around the world.
The collected soil was used to create the glaze for the ceramic sphere, which was fired out of local Greenpoint clay. In using soil--universally symbolic for one's roots and identity--as the medium, Ziemia gestures to the primal connection to Earth that underlies each individual’s migratory experience. As the transitionary phase in nature between death and life, soil refers to the cyclical patterns of neighborhood growth and change.
The materials were chosen specifically for their significance in Greenpoint's history. The meadow, composed of native and doppleganger plant species, references Greenpoint's pastoral past as the once fertile land that sustained Native Americans and settlers.
The public art piece will serve as a central location for events to encourage cross-cultural exchange and initiate dialog about immigration and the human relationship with the natural world.
Ziemia contributes to the network of projects currently exploring Greenpoint through a social and ecological lens, and serves as an umbrella for cross-disciplinary collaborations. The team of chemistry research students at Lehman College have been important partners in the project and have tested the Greenpoint soil for traces of pollution, as it is known for being highly contaminated with industrial toxic waste.
The project aims to bring attention to the ties, both sentimental and vital, that we have to the land we call home.
RECENT NEWS AND UPDATES
A short film documenting Wawrzyniak's journey to collect soil for the Ziemia orb on behalf of Polish immigrants living in Greenpoint, was featured this year at the Greenpoint Film Festival!
ABOUT THE ARTIST: MARTYNKA WAWRZYNIAK
As a conceptual artist, I develop collaborative, research-based projects that traverse varied mediums and disciplines, engaging the audience through sensory experience. The medium—whether photography, installation, video, performance or sculpture—is matched to each project’s conceptual foundation. My works utilize corporeal sensation as a vehicle for communicating ideas about primal experience, memory, and sociocultural issues. By reframing common everyday materials through experimental procedures, the works generate subjective, visceral, and often confrontational experiences. With Ziemia I am interested in surrendering more of the creative process to a wider group of participants who can interact with the work in deeply personal ways.