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Guest Designer

Brief info

Barbara Galińska, a talented calligrapher hailing from Warsaw, Poland, has devoted nearly a decade to perfecting her craft, producing captivating artwork that resonates with individuals affected by and opposed to conflicts worldwide.

"Born in war-torn Warsaw, I indirectly experienced the atrocities of World War II, like many in Poland. My father and grandfather were deported to Auschwitz and later to a labour camp in Austria, returning without his father. These memories persist and often a spark is all it takes to ignite a rebellion against the extreme evils we are seeing today.

The inception of this work did not indicate anything promising – it was a response to the international calligraphy challenge (callivember) with the slogan of the day "STOP WAR". I had in my thoughts the outbreak of the ongoing war in Ukraine spanning two years, and the emergence of a fresh chapter in the Israeli-Palestine war. In my soul, I felt the intensification of armed conflicts worldwide.

"STOP WAR" has already been reiterated many times but I wanted to create something unique out of these two words. The strong black and red colours immediately attract attention; the unusual structure of the letters encourages longer observation and reflection on how they are constructed and where their lines lead. This is not easy to understand right away. I guess that's what makes this graphic so successful, that you must stop before it to fully comprehend it. Especially since various associations come to mind - flames in a destroyed city, a maze leading to nowhere or to freedom, paths of people fleeing in droves from the war, the word "war" squeezed by "stop", bars in the windows of a burning house...

What is happening now with the STOP WAR sign is like a world exhibition of one work for me and it has made me a little dizzy. My calligraphic works have already been exhibited at many individual and group exhibitions. Most of them were in Poland but also in France, Italy, Mexico, the USA, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, and India. However, none of my works aroused such a wide range and interest as STOP WAR.

There’s a mural in Brooklyn and another upcoming in Switzerland. In London, my posters featured in the FOA National March for Palestine, and I'm designing a logo for the "Artists for Humanity" charity concert. Artist Fred Brown erected a 75-metre-high STOP WAR sign on Bridlington South Beach in England. Children from the charity CISV (Children International Summer Village) in Italy wear the graphic on t-shirts. While, in my town of Józefów, near Warsaw, the graphic was displayed on the wall of the Cultural Centre building on the second year of the war in Ukraine. STOP WAR adorns city streets worldwide, in Poland, Spain, France and America, as posters and stickers.

I'm glad that this universal slogan and simple graphics resonate in so many different places around the world. Of course, I do not hope that they will lead to the end of all armed conflicts in the world, as if by magic. However, I would like this sign to be seen wherever people want peace. When theirs and my dreams come true, I will calmly return to calligraphy of beautiful letters. - Barbara Galińska."

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