How We Learnt the West in the East. Official and Unofficial Relations Between the Polish People’s Republic with “Third World”: Art Projects

To decolonize museums first we should decolonize the collective memory. Before 1989 socio-political change, the Polish People's Republic global economic contacts were closer with so called “Third World” (now called Global South), then with the West. Curating vast archives of this historical collaborations shows how the official government agreements lead the way to unexpected, unofficial, even illegal links. This the case of Polish-Indian “friendship” as shown in the exhibition “Prince Polonia”, but also of Polish engineers working in Arab countries and Arab students in Poland, as shown in performative lecture “The suits that we have in our country are not suitable for the tropical climate”. These two art projects (different versions of display in Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Clark House Initiative in Bombay, Trafo in Szczecin and performance at Biennale Warsaw) prove that socialist “Second World” ambiguous position had many advantages.

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