Sharon Lockhart to Represent Poland at the 57th Venice Biennale

The American artist's project is inspired by a cherished children's book author.

Sharon Lockhart. Photo ©Patrick McMullan by Andreas Branch

Sharon Lockhart will represent Poland at the 57th Venice Biennale, the Zachęta National Gallery of Art announced this week. Curated by Barbara Piwowarska, Lockhart’s project is called Little Review, based on an old Polish newspaper supplement aimed at children.

Lockhart, who was shortlisted for the 6th edition of the prestigious Artes Mundi prize in 2014, works with film and photography. The biennale project is inspired by Mały Przegląd (Little Review), the children and young people’s supplement for the Polish newspaper Nasz Przegląd (Our Review). It will deal with the end of childhood at the dawn of adolescence, and giving young women a voice.

Mały Przegląd, which ran from 1926 to 1939, was the brainchild of Janusz Korczak, a Polish-Jewish children’s educator, author, and pediatrician. Korczak, already a pen name for Henryk Goldszmit, was also known affectionately as “Pan Doctor” (Mr. Doctor). The beloved doctor refused freedom during the Second World War, choosing to stay in the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw with orphaned children, rather than seek asylum. He was eventually sent to Treblinka, where he was killed in 1942.

Sharon Lockhart <i>Untitled</i> (2010). Photo courtesy Blum & Poe

Sharon Lockhart, Untitled, (2010). Photo courtesy Blum & Poe

Lockhart’s work, Little Review, will be a film that features female sociotherapy students in training at centers around Poland, alongside translated original issues of Mały Przegląd.

US-born artist Lockhart has been a key part of the Polish art scene for the last decade, creating work and exhibiting there. In her work, she often engages with groups of people for long periods of time, dealing with socially-engaged themes that could be viewed as collaborations with her subjects.

The runner-up position was awarded to the artist Piotr Uklański and curator Adam Mazur. Uklański’s project would have comprised 68 photographs exploring themes of mythology, religious symbolism, and national iconography in Poland and Polish culture.

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