Merry Christmas

Arsenal Gallery, Bialystok

21st Century Painting, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw

Santa Claus exists…

When I received an invitation from Arsenal Gallery to take part in the exhibition about Christmas, for a long time I had no idea what to prepare. Just then I remembered my friend who worked only once a year: at Christmas he dressed up as Santa Claus and gave sweets to children in the street. Then he would come to the bar, still wearing his Santa Claus suit, with an expression of contentment on his face. You know, he would say, in this costume I feel so noble and needed, I feel a better man…

I spent whole days alone then. I had just moved to Warsaw and I felt alienated. I missed my family and friends I had left in my home town Bydgoszcz. After some time I met new people who helped me and I made new friends. Living in Warsaw became more and more pleasant. I realized that friendship and kindness of people around me are like a Christmas present for me.

Missing my old friends and looking forward to meeting new ones, I painted forty portraits of my loved ones wearing Santa Claus costume. Those pictures were supposed to be a kind of present for them – I did my best so that they would look beautiful.

Dorota Podlaska