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Piano artwork based on poet's words hopes to be a ‘Blessing for Humanity'

February 26th, 2018 9:13 AM

By Jackie Keogh

‘Blessing for Humanity' will be on display at No 49 North St in Skibbereen every Wednesday,12-1pm.

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A WEST Cork-based artist who is fascinated by text has transformed an old upright piano into a work of art using words.

Tomasz Madajczak is originally from Poland, but he was thrilled to take up Irish citizenship in 2017, after living in West Cork for the last eight years.

‘It felt like the right thing to do,’ said Tomasz about his permanent relocation to the creative community that is West Cork. 

‘It was a joint decision with my wife, Agata, because together we had been looking for the right place to raise our children Nori, Lucija and Pamuya.’

Tomasz’s first major work of art, ‘Thoughtspace’, was also inspired by text. He began by writing a single word on a white wall in a studio in an art academy in Poland and kept going until the entire room – the walls, the floor and the ceiling – was covered in words.

It excited people and made them dizzy too because they followed the swirl of words around the room, and it ultimately earned Tomasz recognition among his professors and his peers.

‘It also gave me an insight into a new concept that I have developed into a work of art,’ said Tomasz, who explained: ‘Art, for me, is an experience, and I would like to create a similar experience for the viewer.’

Tomasz – who had the distinction of being the artist in residence at the Uillinn West Cork Art Centre in 2015 to 2016, as well as having a residency in an art space in Cork called The Guesthouse – was delighted when someone donated an old upright piano from Kilgarriffe National School to be a feature in a new creative space at No 49 North Street in Skibbereen.

The co-ordinators of No 49 asked Tomasz to lead a project that would transform the piano into an art object that they could display in their new centre – a centre they hope will be a space for creativity, wellness and recovery.

‘We discussed what should be written on the piano and it was decided that it would be most beneficial if it corresponded with my earlier works,’ said Tomasz.

‘It hardly needs to be pointed out that red and white are the Cork colours, and the text is based on the writings of [poet] John O’Donohue.’

With the help of Pól O’Colmain, who did the translation, the text is written in English and in Irish and is written as a blessing for the reader – something to support their well-being, their faith in life. 

‘Hopefully,’ said Tomasz, ‘it will awaken their creativity, as well as acting as a soothing message for those who are suffering. It connects three cultures: Irish, English and Polish and metaphorically it is meant to be a cross-cultural object because it is directed at people. I want everyone who reads it, or experiences it, to feel some kind of love and support.’ The piano project – entitled Blessing for Humanity – will be on display at No 49 North Street every Wednesday from 12 to 1pm.

Tomasz said he hopes lots of people will come to see it and he thanked Kevin Shanahan, Declan McCarthy, Peter Fitzpatrick, who sourced the piano, Agata Kluzniak and Lucija Kluzniak Madajczak, Susan McManamon, everyone at Cadogan Motor Works for their help, as well as the Happiness Ensemble, for their help and support.

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