Tag Archives: Wroclaw Dwarfs

Wroclaw, Daily Dwarf (2)

I cannot be certain but this is quite possibly my favourite.

The Official Travel Guide in Wrocław – visitWroclaw.eu

Favourite Street Art

Street Art Mellieha MaltaMellihea, Malta
Bratislava Street ArtBratislava, Slovakia
Sólfar suncraft Reykjavik Iceland
The Solfar Suncraft, Reykjavik, Iceland
Agincourt ArchersAgincourt English Archers, France
L'Escala Costa Brava Street ArtL’Escala, Catalonia, Spain
Burgos Weary PilgrimBurgos, Castilla y Leon The Pilgrim, Spain
Marilyn Monroe Haugesund NorwayHaugesund Marilyn Monroe, Norway

Krakow, Poland

I Love Wroclaw DwarfWroclaw, Poland
Irish Famine
The Potato Famine, Dublin, Ireland
Anonymous Pedestrians Wroclaw Poland
Wroclaw, Poland – The Anonymous PedestriansBelfast  Beacon Of Hope
Belfast, Beacon Of Hope

To Copyright or Not to Copyright

Wroclaw Poland Anonymous Pedestrians

“In comparing various authors with one another, I have discovered that some of the gravest and latest writers have transcribed, word for word, from former works, without making acknowledgement.”                                                                 Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder)

I have noticed that some bloggers add a little copyright status to their home page or add the copyright symbol (©) to their photographs.  I never do.  I think if someone wants to use a part of my work or repost one of my pictures then this is acknowledgement rather than theft.  I am flattered rather than offended.

I have come across some of pictures in other postings and used in travel websites.  I really don’t mind.  If someone asks I just say yes, mostly people don’t ask.

I first posted the above picture on March 14th 2014.  The statue is called the Anonymous Pedestrians and is in Wroclaw in Poland.  Recently a website used the image (un-credited) in a top ten list of creative urban art.  Since then, according to Google, it has been used over four hundred times in different websites and blogs, none of which link back to my original post.

I am interested in what fellow bloggers think.

Do you copyright your work?

Do you mind if other people copy or use it?

Would you complain about it if they do?

What makes me sad is that people have used my image but don’t tell the story of the Anonymous Pedestrians…

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

Wroclaw Dwarf

The dwarfs of Wroclaw can be found posing outside buildings and along the footpaths all over the city and this afternoon we bought a dwarf map and went looking for them.

The map must be rather old and out of date because it lists only seventy-nine of these little people but the dwarfs own web site (http://krasnale.pl/) says that there at least two hundred and five and some sources claim that there are as many as two hundred and fifty so the chances of seeing them all in one afternoon seemed hopelessly ambitious.

See more minimalist people in Wroclaw…

Weekly Photo Challenge : Cover Art

Anonymous Pedestrians Wroclaw Poland

At a busy road junction there are fourteen statues of ordinary people going about their daily business but on one side of the road they are sinking into grey obscurity into the pavement and on the other they are rising back out into the sunshine in a form of social resurrection.  It is a wonderful piece of street art and I am prepared to say that for me it was one of the highlights of Wroclaw.

The statues are a memorial to the introduction of martial law in Poland on December 13th 1981 and the thousands of people who disappeared (‘went underground’) in the middle of the night courtesy of the militia. In a symbolic statement the fourteen statues were erected in the middle of the night in 2005 on the twenty-fourth anniversary of the introduction of martial law.

Read the full story…

Poland (Wroclaw), Street Images

Wroclaw Poland Market Square

I Love Wroclaw Dwarf

Wroclaw Poland Street Art

Wroclaw Love Locks

Anonymous Pedestrians Wroclaw Poland

Urban Wall Art Wroclaw Poland

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Prisoner Dwarf Wroclaw Poland

Prisoner Dwarf – Wroclaw, Poland

Poland (Wroclaw), The Anonymous Pedestrians

Wroclaw Poland Postcard

“When Pope John Paul II kissed the ground at the Warsaw airport he began the process by which Communism in Poland – and ultimately elsewhere in Europe – would come to an end.”  – John Lewis Gaddis, U.S. Cold War Historian

It was going to be a long day today as our return flight to the UK wasn’t until ten o’clock in the evening and we had to check out of the hotel at midday so we had a leisurely breakfast and stayed in our room as long as we could before checking out and returning to the streets.

In the Market Place the musical event had already started and there were some choirs and bands lining up and preparing to take their turn on the stage.  It turned out that this was a charity event and there were dozens of tin rattlers shaking collection boxes under the noses of the people in the square.  Luckily a contribution was exchanged for a red heart sticker which successfully prevented any subsequent pestering. Unfortunately they weren’t especially sticky so it was important to be careful they didn’t fall off and the pestering would start all over again.*

I asked a bar owner who was busy arranging pavement tables what it was all about and was told that it was a national fund raising day for sick people without state health care provision and all around there were people representing their particular disablement or ailment and some of them looked rather uncomfortable which made me wonder why they didn’t have this event in the spring or the summer when sick people wouldn’t catch their death of cold. Fortunately the sun was shining!

So now we went looking for more dwarfs and walked to the river and then walked east but there was a chill wind blowing down the river valley so we abandoned the route almost as soon as we had started and headed back to the centre and along the way came across ‘Jatki’ which is the only preserved medieval street in Wroclaw.  ‘Jatki’ was the street of the butchers and this is where we found my favourite of all the dwarfs that we managed to track down, the butcher hanging his meat.

There were also some bronze sculptures of animals, a pig, piglet, goose, duck, rooster and a rabbit at the entrance to the street.  These sculptures figure prominently in the guidebooks of the city and on numerous postcards but the statues that I wanted to see seemed difficult to find, didn’t get a section in the guidebook or appear on any postcard that I could find so eventually I had to admit defeat and go to the Tourist Information Office to ask for directions.

Anonymous Pedestrians Wroclaw Poland

I was looking for a sculpture called ‘The Anonymous Pedestrians’ and I knew about it thanks to fellow bloggers Terri and James who wrote about them in a post called ‘Wroclaw’s Anonymous Pedestrians: Memories of Martial Law’. Without this post I am fairly certain that I wouldn’t have come across this collection of statues because they are a little way out of the city centre.

At a busy road junction there are fourteen statues of ordinary people going about their daily business but on one side of the road they are sinking into grey obscurity into the pavement and on the other they are rising back out into the sunshine in a form of social resurrection.  It is a wonderful piece of street art and I am prepared to say that for me it was one of the highlights of Wroclaw.

The statues are a memorial to the introduction of martial law in Poland on December 13th 1981 and the thousands of people who disappeared (‘went underground’) in the middle of the night courtesy of the militia. In a symbolic statement the fourteen statues were erected in the middle of the night in 2005 on the twenty-fourth anniversary of the introduction of martial law.

Wroclaw Anonymous Pedestrians Poland

In 1981 the Polish Communist Government was having a hard time, there was a troublesome Polish Pope who had visited the country two years earlier and given people hope of liberation, there was a severe economic crisis, workers were striking and there was the growing influence of the workers movement Solidarity, and under pressure from the USSR, General Jaruzelski decided on a brutal and violent solution.

Early in the morning Martial Law was declared, several thousand opposition campaigners were interned, it is estimated that approximately one hundred people were murdered and strikes were crushed with the help of the army and special riot police units. Many members of the opposition and underground trade-unionists were sentenced to prison terms, others were forced to emigrate.  Normal life was severely restricted with curfews and rationing, the independent trade union Solidarity was banned and its leader Lech Walesa was imprisoned.

Although martial law was lifted in 1983, many of the political prisoners were not released until the general amnesty in 1986.

Jaruzelski and the other instigators of the martial law argued that the army crackdown rescued Poland from a possibly disastrous military intervention of the Soviet Union, East Germany, and other Warsaw Pact countries similar to the earlier ‘fraternal aid’ interventions in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 but history generally disagrees with this defensive interpretation and even today some of the leaders of the action await formal trial and punishment.

This is probably the most striking and powerful memorial depicting ordinary people that I have ever seen that perfectly captures the moment and visually records the suffering and the inhumanity, the desperation and the the hope of the time and the military regime.

We crossed the road back and forth several times and I could have stayed longer if only to watch the reaction of other people who were seeing it for the first time but eventually it was time to move on because we had plans to visit the city museum.

Wroclaw Poland Anonymous Pedestrians

Click on an image to scroll through the gallery…

* Begging and tin rattling is something that really irritates me especially as these days it is impossible to go to the supermarket without being accosted by somebody collecting for something that I really have no interest in contributing to!

Poland (Wroclaw), More Little People in Wroclaw

Wroclaw Dwarfs 1

Wroclaw Dwarfs 2

 

Poland (Wroclaw), Hunting For Dwarfs and Jaywalking

Wroclaw Dwarfs Postcard

On a recent visit to Iceland  we learnt about the elves and trolls that live there but we didn’t see any because they are invisible but here in Wroclaw we very soon came across the dwarfs because they are not nearly so shy and can be found posing outside buildings and along the footpaths all over the city and this afternoon we bought a dwarf map of Wroclaw and went looking for them.

The map must be rather old and out of date because it lists only seventy-nine of these little people but the dwarfs own web site (http://krasnale.pl/) says that there at least two hundred and five and some sources claim that there are as many as two hundred and fifty so the chances of seeing them all in one afternoon seemed hopelessly ambitious.

Dwarfs have long held a place in Polish folklore and their current iconic status as symbols of Wrocław actually has political and subversive origins. Under communism gnomes became the rather unlikely symbol of the Orange Alternative movement – an underground protest movement that used absurdity and nonsense to stage peaceful protests. Armed with paint cans the group specifically ridiculed the establishment’s attempts to censor public space.

During the communist era any anti-establishment graffiti or public art was quickly painted over by the authorities but upon seeing fresh censorship paint the Orange Alternative quickly painted over them yet again…with dwarfs.  The first gnome in its modern statuette form was placed on a busy crossroads near a subway where Orange Alternative demonstrations often took place in 2001.

We started in the Market Square and at first it all seemed incredibly easy and within a few minutes we had spotted at least twenty using our guide pamphlet as a sort of I Spy Book’ that we used to have when we were children but then the going got tougher as we were forced into the adjacent streets to go in search of our quest.

To the south of the Market Square we walked as far as the old city moat and then back to the centre via the Four Temples District and then we went north again back towards the University searching high and low for the little fellows.

As we walked around we were impressed by the discipline of pedestrians when it came to crossing the road and we were surprised to see crowds of people standing obediently at a crossing waiting for the lights to change.

Kim suggested that this might be to do with having grown up under an authoritarian regime but we discovered later that the reason for obeying this rule so diligently is the fact that the local city police will quite freely hand out a 50-100 zloty fine for crossing a road at a place where no crossing is marked or, where there is one, a minimum 100 zloty fine when the ‘walk’ light is red and we considered ourselves very lucky because many times during the day we had ignored the red lights and casually strolled across the road when the road was clear as we tend to do back home.

There is however a good reason for this police road crossing enforcement because Poland has the worst pedestrian road deaths statistics in the European Union and accounts for 25% of all such road fatalities whilst the population of Poland only constitutes a disproportionate 8% of the EU total.  In the major cities pedestrian deaths account for 60% of all road deaths and in 2010 three hundred pedestrians were killed on designated controlled crossings.

Looking back I can see the sense of the rules now because the crossings all have a confusing arrangement of converging pavements, streets and tramlines and the traffic use does not always conveniently coincide so it would be quite easy to watch for cars and then get run down by a forty-tonne tram and there is only going to be one realistic outcome from that sort of encounter.

I suppose we had almost doubled our dwarf spotting total to about forty when the light began to fade and we were sure that we were missing some now and it had begun to turn colder so we abandoned the dwarf hunt and made our way to the ‘Drink Bar’ which had already, even after only one day, become our favourite bar in Wroclaw.

We didn’t stay long because Kim had an appointment at the hotel spa for a massage so while she went back I found a mini-market and bought three different cans of Polish lager, Zywiec, Tyskie and (I had to be careful with this one) Warka and then took them back to the room to conduct a beer tasting experiment and later that night when I had finished them all I decided that I liked them all equally.

Later we walked out again as far as the Market Square where the workmen were putting the finishing touches to the stage scaffolding and then choose a traditional Polish restaurant for evening meal.  It was a pleasant place and we ordered wine and a two course meal but as the first plate arrived we immediately realised that we shouldn’t have because the portions were positively massive – the people of Poland it seems have very large appetites.

It had been a good day and as we walked back under the stars we looked forward to completing our sightseeing tour of the city the next day.