Grudziądz Calendar 2021

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Note from the Mourning Calendar Card


MIRELA DZIEDZIECH
(1970-2018)








    She proved that disability does not exclude activity, not limited to creative activities either. She was one of the most talented and famous artists in her hometown. A painter by passion, she also did not part with her digital camera. At first, the photos replaced her sketchbook from which she painted pictures. With time, photography became her second passion. Even though she moved with a wheelchair, she traveled a lot. She was curious about people and the world.

    Mirela Dziedziech was born on October 10, 1970 in Grudziądz, Poland. From the mid-1990s she participated in artistic classes conducted at the Bishop Jan Chrapek Rehabilitation Center and in the Occupational Therapy Workshops in Mniszek, a neighborhood near Grudziądz. There, she deepened and developed her skills and achieved satisfaction and joy from the process of creating and expressing herself through art. At first, her tutor was the Grudziądz painter Józef Mrotek. Then she worked under the supervision of art historian Grzegorz Sprusik. She specialized in landscapes. One of her main sources of inspiration were the charms of the Rudnik forest. She did not shy away from still life. She was also fascinated by faces, but due to manual difficulties she had to change the form of portraits. Instead of painting or drawing sitting subjects, she began to photograph them.

    She took part in numerous plein-airs, reviews, and exhibitions of works by disabled people. She presented her works at two solo exhibitions in Grudziądz in 2012 and 2016, at the International Biennial of Fine Arts in Krakow in 1998 and 2000, and in group exhibitions in Warsaw, Kluczbork, Ustka, Pułtusk, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, Kałków-Godowo, Bydgoszcz, Ciechocinek, and Bielsko Biała. She was a laureate of the National Review of Artistic Creativity of the Disabled in Grudziądz several times: a distinction in 1999 and awards as follows: third in 2003, first in 2008 and 2010, and second in 2011.

    She had a great sense of color, composition, and mood. In the commentary to her individual exhibition “Dawn till dusk” in Grudziądz in 2012, Grzegorz Sprusik wrote:

“Mirela Dziedziech’s landscapes are the result of a fascination with nature, a sum of subjective reflections, sensations and feelings that arise during direct observation of reality, discovering its secrets, learning its shapes, forms and colors. Motifs that appears in her spring, summer, and autumn landscapes are distinctive of the native scenery: meadows and fields, trees, parks, groves and forests, streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. In her paintings, she also records the passing and fleeting phenomena occurring in nature.

    Landscape is for her a source of inspiration and a point of departure to building an autonomous painting structure. Coupled with a drive to solve purely painting problems, she has purpose to search for formal and color solutions related to the influence of light on the depicted space and its forms. The light changes with the time of day and season. She does not imitate nature in her paintings; she creatively transforms it, keeping, however, its specific, recognizable, physical shapes that sometimes succumb to loss, get their contours dissolved and blurred. This leads to the depiction being hidden and the apparent dematerialization of the forms represented that can only be felt under the layer of colorful spots.”

    In the final years, she was also interested in digital photography, which gave her great pleasure. She was able to play with photography to bring out details invisible at first glance. She participated in several weekend photo sessions in various regions of Poland and in foreign photo expeditions. Her hands were very weak, which meant problems with holding the camera, so it had to be lightweight and always supported, for example, on a table, the wheelchair’s armrest, or a tripod. In order to be able to take a photo of a small object, she had to be brought to that object or the object brought to her. She not only enjoyed to photograph but was also passionate about digital photo processing. She also shot videos.

    I met Misia at her friend’s cottage. She was just over 30 at the time, pretty and always smiling. She was in a wheelchair because she suffered from spinal muscular atrophy that progressed with age and eventually led to her departure.

    She had more courage than her friends. She would confidently ride on bumpy paths in Rudnik forest or during sightseeing trips but only when I was nearby where she could count on my help. She loved every opportunity to travel together. Her eyes glistened when we boarded the train Pendolino in Iława or a plane in Okęcie, on our way to southern Europe.

    She was curious about everything, whether it was seeing a levitating monk in Bologna or the golden statue of Mozart in Vienna moving its head. She was compelled to strike up a conversation and learn the details. During our visit to Crete, a tour guide carried her to the famous cave of Agia Sofia, the cave of Wisdom of God, located several dozen meters above the bottom of the Topolia gorge. Similarly, in Loutro, although we had the lowest room, which was at second story level, we had to climb 40 steps carved into the rocky elevation. The staff assisted daily pulling up the wheelchair and brought breakfast every morning. We ate in an uncommon setting—on a white terrace overlooking the azure sea with floating white yachts and ferries in the distance. In such moments Mirela forgot her disability and felt bliss.

    She made contacts and friendships very easily, be it with a university professor, a master’s degree, or a person with Down syndrome. She was an equal partner for everyone, and she had a topic to discuss with everyone. And that’s how people remembered her.  One night at the Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz six months after her passing, a friendly operagoer asked me “Are you without your wife today?”

    Mirela had stamina. During photographic expeditions, the day began with capturing sunrises. This is why she got up before dawn. Then she explored and photographed during the day, and in the evening, she participated in chats, i.e. discussing the works performed, during which when I would “slip out” she would nudge me with her elbow and say, “Don’t sleep!” The following day was similar. She returned to Grudziądz exhausted but happy, and she painted and painted…what she captured in the photos and what she remembered.

    Mirela had seemingly inexhaustible energy. Unfortunately, she lost the fight against the disease. Her health did not appear to decline. The week before going to the hospital, we spent three days in Warsaw for a family party. Mirela was as cheerful as ever.

    I didn’t sense nor imagine that her end was so near. An hour before her death, she raised her hand and announced she was leaving. I replied to her to try not to think about it and that we will travel the world again. Shaking her head, she disagreed. I didn’t know this was goodbye. Soon after, her heart stopped.

    She died in the hospital in Grudziądz on April 22, 2018 and was buried at the parish cemetery in Wielkie Tarpno.

    Soon thereafter, a posthumous exhibition of Mirela’s paintings was organized at the Akcent Club, a branch of Cultural Center Theater in Grudziądz; and on the occasion of the first anniversary of her death, an exhibition of her photograms was organized at the library branch on Nicholas of Rynsk street.

/Her best friend Adam/