Poland: Artists boycott festival over alleged blacklist

The National Festival of Polish Song, traditionally held annually since its establishment in 1963 in the south western city of Opole, was cancelled after controversy ensued over an alleged artist blacklist by organiser and sponsor Polish Television (TVP) that led to a boycott of more than 20 artists, reported Radio Poland and Financial Times in […]

INSIGHT 2016 publication: Targeting the arts

» Read on issuu.com Targeting the arts INSIGHT articles about controversies and conflicts over art in 2016 Documenting incidents of censorship will never be enough. From the very beginning, Freemuse has attempted to describe censorship of music and arts in a larger context. In 2015 we introduced INSIGHT – a series of articles providing readers with […]

Poland: Creative freedom undermined in cultural revolution

Every government has the right to conduct its own cultural policy and to determine its own priorities and strategies. But what has been happening in Polish culture since the nationalist-Catholic rightwing ‘Law and Justice’ Party (PiS) took power in the autumn of 2015 has not been a normal democratic correction. It has instead been a […]

Poland: Ukrainian band stopped at border due to local threats

Polish authorities did not let Ukrainian band Ot Vinta cross the border into Poland as local hard-core football fans known as Ultras threatened to stage mass riots and burn down the stage the band was set to perform on if they were let into the country. The band was scheduled to play in a festival […]

Poland: Controversies over theatre plays

Censorship of play by Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek calls attention to the precariousness of state funded art in Poland By Anna Gotowska   Less than a month after winning the November 2015 elections in Poland, the conservative Law and Justice party gained international attention for its controversial internal politics. One of the most heated […]

Poland: Culture minister wants to ban Nobel winner’s play

Poland’s new culture minister, Piotr Gliński, wants to ban a production by one of the country’s leading theatre companies of a play by the Nobel prize-winning author Elfriede Jelinek, claiming public money must not be used to subsidise “pornography”. The move by Gliński, who is also deputy prime minister in the new conservative Law & […]

Poland: Dissident theatre director fired by city mayor

Ewa Wojciak, director of Poland’s Theatre of the Eighth Day, was fired by Poznan mayor Ryszard Grobelny on 28 July 2014. His administration oversees culture and arts in the city, including Wojciak’s subversive and anti-establishment theatre group. The official reason given was that she did not ask for permission to leave the city between 18 and […]

Poland: Artist at risk of imprisonment for controversial sculpture

Jerzy Bohdan Szumczyk’s sculpture entitled ‘Komm, Frau’ (Come, Woman) describing a Russian Red Army soldier raping a pregnant woman – intended by the artist to dramatize rape victims’ suffering – has put him at risk of imprisonment in Poland with the charge of promoting national hatred. An outraged Russian ambassador in Warsaw called for an […]

Poland: Belarusian exhibition censored in the last minute

A Belarusian outdoor visual arts exhibition in Warsaw underwent serious censorship. Representatives of the Belarusian embassy removed nine paintings because they found them ‘inappropriate’. The Belarusian version of the exhibition, entitled the Zabor art project, was displayed on a fence in Minsk in the summer 2012, but less than an hour before the exhibition was […]

European Commission: Artists are free to ‘offend, shock or disturb’

The European Union criticised Poland’s supreme court for allowing prosecutors to try Adam Darski, lead singer in the heavy metal band Behemoth, for illegal artistic expression. At issue is the interpretation of Article 196 of the Polish penal code referring to “the crime of offending religious sensibilities.” While on stage in 2007, singer Adam Darski […]



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