September 4, 2001
'Solidarity' exhibit opens gallery
By Eric Rangus email@example.com
The end of the Cold War, it is generally agreed, began in Poland in 1980
with the founding of Solidarity, the Polish Free Trade Union. A new photography
exhibit will educate the Emory community about this incredibly significant
Solidarity: Twenty Years of History opens today in the Woodruff
Librarys third-floor Corridor Gallery. It chronicles the history
of the Polish trade union, from its birth in the Gdansk shipyard in August
1980 up to the June 1999 visit of the man who is perhaps Polands
most famous native, Pope John Paul II.
When we talk about the end of the Cold War, we tend to view it
as the United States against the Soviet Union, said Fraser Harbutt,
associate professor of history. But there was an important European
dimension. Solidarity was a key catalyst to the collapse of communism.
Solidarity features more than 70 photographs ranging from
worker demonstrations in the early 1980s to visits by U.S. dignitaries
such as former President Ronald Reagan and former Secretary of State Madeline
Albright in the 1990s.
The pictures were taken by both professional photographers and amateurs
in secret. Some were kept in official Communist Party archives and not
released until free elections came to the
Certain images are quite chilling, such as a photo of one demonstrator,
Michal Adamowicz, being carried by four men, each gripping and arm or
leg, to the hospital after being shot in the head. He would die three
While the exhibits focus is on Solidarity and the battle pitting
Polish workers against an oppressive one-party state, its story also encompasses
the fall of communism as well as the journey of Polanda Eastern
European nation of 40 millionfrom a Warsaw Pact satellite of the
former Soviet Union to a member of NATO and prospective membership in
the European Union.
Conventional wisdom was that a totalitarian regime like the old
Soviet Union could only be upset from the outside, Harbutt said.
You needed World War II to stop Hitler,[for example]. There was
very little belief that the Soviet Union could die from within, but a
lot of historians would agree that it did.
Students should be really interested in this event, said
Schatten Gallery Director Valerie Watkins. [Solidarity] was a major
historical event for Eastern Europe during the 20th century, and it took
place when our students were just coming into this world. It was the first
chink in the wall of communism.
The exhibit is cosponsored by the Russian and East European Studies program,
the history department, the Polish Embassy and the Polish Club of Atlanta,
and it will be on display until
Elizabeth Gürtler-Krawczynska, associate professor of radiology
and a vice president of the Polish Club of Atlanta, was the driving force
behind the effort to bring the Solidarity exhibit to Emory. She learned
of its existence last October. She organized campus sponsorship and contacted
Watkins, who was able to schedule a showing in the Corridor Gallery.
I was in Poland at that time, and the feeling was incredible,
Gürtler-Krawczynska said. It would not have happened without
Pope John Paul II in Rome. With his moral support people overcame [their]
fear. There was nothing to lose, and they were united by thoughts of country.
The Emory community should learn more about Poland and her constant fight
for freedom and democracy.
Ten days after the debut of Solidarity, the Schatten Gallery
will present a multimedia exhibition called The Third Eye: Images
of Ritual India. It presents, in photographs and video, a trip taken
by several Emory faculty members and students to India earlier this year.
The travelers took all of their own pictures and religion Professor Paul
Courtright shot video documenting Indian spiritual practices.
The Third Eye opens Sept. 14. For Schatten Gallery hours, call 404-727-6868.