Jan Karski Bench is Transformed by Olek
Friday, July 24, 2015
Source: Consulate General of the Republic of Poland
Check out the Jan Karski bench outside the landmarked Polish Consulate located at 233 Madison Avenue (Jan Karski Corner, on the 37th Street side). It is being transformed by an art installation by Olek.
Agata Olek Oleksiak, known professionally as Olek, is a Polish artist who creates her work entirely from fiber. She has dressed the iconic Charging Bull of Wall Street; “yarn bombed” a locomotive in Lódz; and even crocheted for the British Royal Family. Now, she has set her sights on Jan Karski’s bench.
"With every piece I create, I aim to display my solidarity with those who are oppressed worldwide. My art tends to trigger dialogue and encourages a deeper awareness of people's everyday struggles," Olek said. "The broad appeal of my work invariably sparks a second thought, even awe, by being accessible and playful." More about art created by Olek: www.oleknyc.com
Apart from being a charming place to rest from the city’s hustle and bustle, now more than ever — thanks to the skillful work of Olek — the bench is a place to think about this Great Pole, who risked his life to show the world the atrocities of World War II. "I am honored to be part of this large-scale promotion of Jan Karski, a man whose actions and achievements should never be forgotten," said Olek.
Karski’s name should remain known in our time and age, when we witness numerous armed conflicts. Everywhere, there are the heroes who fight with regimes, often risking their own lives. This is a reason why Olek and the Polish Consulate encourage you to take a photo with Jan Karski on his bench and upload it to social media with the hashtags #KarskiNYC and #OlekNYC.
During World War II, Jan Karski was a Polish reserve officer and a junior diplomat with great ambitions and a bright future, when the German Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. Shortly after, Soviet forces invaded his country. He was being sent to his certain death when he managed his first escape. Karski become a courier for the Polish Underground resistance where he played a significant and remarkable role in the struggle for his country’s freedom. His book, Story of a Secret State, was published in 1944 in the United States and became an overnight best-seller.
See the attached flyer for more information about Jan Karski and the social media campaign to honor him. The Bench:, by Karol Badyna, 2007, Photo by Jan Latus.