In 1939 the Soviet army invaded Eastern Poland. To instill fear and pacify the newly conquered territory, Stalin's NKVD secret police deported approximately 1.7 million Poles. In 1940, my father, a young teenager at the time, along with the rest of his family were deported to Siberia. A year and a half later, after Hitler’s invasion of the USSR, Stalin’s allegiances changed, Poles had the opportunity to leave Siberia and join the Western allies as part of the Anders army. When the war finished my father resettled in England where he met my mother.
I grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s and experienced all the benefits of a country that still enjoyed the legacies of Clement Atlee’s post war socialist government. I had a maintenance grant whilst I attended art college, free orthodontic treatment on my teeth and lived in a council house. Although not an avidly political family, we had probably experienced all the pros and cons of progressive left wing politics.
To coincide with the centenary of the Russian revolution I was invited to make a show of some of my work in the Art Exchange Art gallery at the University of Essex. Titled ‘Remnants of Utopia’ the work reflects on the dichotomy of my political influences.