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"Live not, die" - 10 thousand zloty fine for protesting artists

21 of May '20

The happening, entitled "Letter," took place in Warsaw on May 6. The artists walked from under the Central Post Office building to the Sejm, carrying a fourteen-meter letter-transparent. Although they were at work, they wore masks on their faces and stood at an appropriate distance - a few days after the action, the two artists received a fine from the office of the State District Sanitary Inspector in the amount of PLN 10,000.

"Live not, die". - such was the inscription of the banner prepared by the artists. Its sender was the Sovereign, the recipient was the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. The letter carriers were Marta Czyż, Magda Drągowska, Michał Frydrych, Karolina Grzywnowicz, Mateusz Kowalczyk, Yulia Krivich, Julia Minasiewicz, Jan Możdżinski, Kuba Rudzinski, Weronika Zalewska and Paweł Żukowski.

Letter against illegal elections

The artists wanted to express their opposition to the holding of life-threatening and democratic presidential elections by mail, which were to be held on May 10 this year. With their action they referred to Tadeusz Kantor's 1967 happening.

All the participants in the action performed the same actions, all of them were written down by the police, two people were fined - they were given only a week to pay it. The fined "letter carriers" will appeal the decision. However, it cannot be ruled out that the other people involved in the action will also receive a fine. All this under the pretext of violating the rules of the Epidemiology Act, even though no such violation occurred. Rather, the action of the office of the State District Sanitary Inspector can be seen as an attempt to censor freedom of artistic expression.

"Postmen" taking part in the happening, who, due to the pandemic, found themselves in a difficult financial situation, made worse by the imposed fine, can be supported in an online collection.

Strajk List - artyści otrzymali 10 tysięcy złotych mandatu

The artists are prepared that the other participants can expect the same consequences

photo by Monika Bryk

Solidarity in the face of repression

Although fines were given to two of the ten people taking part in the action, the artists are prepared that the other participants can expect equal consequences. The contribution thus applies to the entire group, not just two people. The entire amount collected that remains after the fines are paid will be donated to a fund for repressed artists, activists who face censorship that strikes at freedom of artistic expression. Discussions are currently underway as to who would be in charge of the fund - artists are keen that it should not be dependent on a single institution.

This kind of repression preys on the lack of solidarity, which is why we care about everyone who could potentially be charged with the mandate. Visual artists are strong - media-wise, organization-wise. This shows this collection ," says Michal Frydrych, one of the participants in the "Letter" campaign.

elaborated. ed.

The vote has already been cast