“Within the top layer, intricately woven for strangers, the roles were allocated, lines were delivered at the correct times, the mechanical movements and places all performed their roles without a hitch, as if everyone was taking part in a school play for the Pope’s visit.
Stolen glances, trembling hands, twitches of the masks. To grasp this truth, which peers and then trickles in a narrow dribble from the very centre of the pupil and lasts for a split second. To connect to the inside and feel possessed by the capsheaf dance.”
16,000 kilometres, over 70 interviews, three and a half years traveling through Poland – Poland of tribes, an imposing patchwork of history, cultures and myths, fascinating and lost, trapped in time.
’’How to Rejuvenate an Eagle” resulted from three and a half years of work and over seventy interviews of photographer Adam Lach and the author Dyba Lach with Poles and Polish citizens.
“We wanted to find out what people’s lives really look like, what they believe in, what unites them. In 2017, as a writer-photographer reporting team, we set out to explore and understand our country, its complexity and ambiguity. We traveled 16 000 km in three years. In our journey we were looking for an answer to a question of what shapes Polish identity today. We faced Polish stereotypes rooted in the culture and everyday life. We talked to people, asked about what being a Pole means to them, what is the meaning of community, belonging and strangeness. We have observed that reality is much more complex than TV stories, Facebook feeds and common beliefs.”
“We have also been trying to understand the concept of border, searching for the meaning of the term and trying to find out if it even truly matters in the joined-up world of today, in a member country of the European Union. Because of Polish history, we are very familiar with this term. Borders were changed throughout the ages, the most acute changes appeared in 19th and 20th centuries, because of international agreements, wars, partitions.
Today, to the borders we have already known, a new one, tangible, has been added – 1.5 meter sanitary rigor. It appeared just when our journey was coming to an end. Over the three years of our work we found out that borders are quite easy to determine, but very hard to get rid of. They last for many years, remain even after such tragic events as II World War, Holocaust, resettlement, Communism.. We realised Poland is a patchwork of societies, religions, nationalities, views, a collection of tribes. For hundreds of years, Poland was an open, diverse, multi-faith country, a mixture of cultures. This has not changed. It is something we need to be reminded of. Yet it seems quite difficult with the society trapped in time.’’
The book was published within the grant of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage – “Young Poland”.