Presentation of Our Lord Jesus. Our Lady of Blueberries. Our Lady of Planting. These are but some of the dozens of feasts venerating the Holy Mother which can be found in the traditional folk Marian calendar. The collection of folk Madonna sculptures belongs to Elżbieta Zajdel and counts about 500 varied depictions found at fairs or specially commissioned.
The unusual passion began innocently enough: with a visit to an antique fair and discovering an old folk sculpture of Madonna, standing out in the crowd of other knick-knacks. Over time, Elżbieta Zajdel’s collection grew, and she found other depictions of the Holy Mother and as well as legends and traditions associated with them. Greatly impressed, not only did she begin to buy the sculptures she came across, but also order custom-made depictions of Holy Mother in the aspects forgotten in our times. Gradually, she learnt more about folk sculptures, their philosophy of life and creation.
The exhibition titled “Magnificat. Traditional Marian calendar in Poland” offers a unique view on an expression of folk culture, one which hides an entire system of beliefs and superstitions, often closely tied with aspects of everyday life in the countryside. Moreover, it allows visitors to learn more about the history of each feast, and explains when the Holy Mother walked the fields carrying a candle, or whose patron Our Lady of Berries was.
The presented folk sculptures show the importance of the worship of Mary over the centuries and today, where it is especially vivid in the Polish countryside. They also express the longing for the disappearing, colourful folklore.
The exhibition took place from 11.12.2017 to 31.05.2018.