11/20/2010

Honest, Authentic Encounters. Enriching Our Own Stories. Part Two.


Among all of the fascinations of our vacation in the late October and early November was meeting old friends and geting to meet new people. Here is about meeting a painter, Joanna Majchrowska, and a journalist, Jan Kot.


Joanna Majchrowska is a painter and an art lecturer at the University of South Australia in Adelaide. We go back to the 1980s when she was studying at the Academy of Art in Warsaw and I was able to persuade her to illustrate for the magazines and books at the publishing house I was managing. We kept in touch but living on different continents obscured our direct contacts. A few years before deciding to study in Warsaw, together with her parents and two sisters, she emigrated from to Australia in her teens.

What a surprise it was to see Joanna again, and actually by chance. Someone said she was in town and we connected. On December 7 Joanna opens her exhibit of 11 oils at Galeria Sztuk Pieknych vW in Warsaw. Entitled “Fragmented” the paintings are based on a set of black and white photographs her father took about their emigration to Australia.

“I thought that it would be nice to do a set of paintings of what was a part of my childhood,” she commented as we ate lunch at “Zgoda,” one of our favorite “Polish Home Cuisine” restaurants in Warsaw. We will miss her exhibit, but it was between a herring in sour cream, and a sauerkraut pierogi (dumplings), we managed to cover a territory of our personal intersections over the last few years when we only briefly met and … casually commented on who was doing what in our diverse, yet intertwined social fabric.

In her unassuming demeanor, Joanna talked about such mundane things as her sister’s moving to another house somewhere in Australia, and how much we owe to our parents and their interest that we live lives of virtue, or that the windows in her rented apartment in Warsaw could not block a fight between lovers on the street below, and all under a street light. Her casual rhetoric about ordinary things was actually confirming how detailed she is in her art when everything matters, but much of it is not important, really. It just is to be absorbed and enjoyed.

Joanna is a fashionista. She knows where to dress, and where the cool caf├ęs are. When in Joanna’s presence, one’s pretense gives-in to more lofty areas of existence, viewing the world with imagination and realism, and all at once.

Whenever I meet with Jan Kot, I am reminded that Polish Protestant journalism is in good hands. On top of this, he is passionate about what he does, and still interested in conquering the world! A well-trained and established as a television producer and writer, Jan is currently assisting the Adventist Church as a chief editor of the Voice of Hope Media Center. He frequently talks about “seizing the moment” and using the media “because that’s where we all see each other every day.” For a decade, a co-author and producer of a weekly show in TVP1, Case for a Reporter, among his other accomplishments, Jan Kot is well acquainted with what hurts in today’s society. In his earlier television work, he dealt with the topics which many viewers, including many confessed-Christians would only talk about privately, choosing (for whatever reason) non-involvement and not to get their hands dirty. I was reminded of my own days as a journalist in Poland of the pre-Solidarity years when it was not easy, but necessary to step-in and assist those who were in need.

Jan, whose family is a well-recognized name in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Poland, continues the passion and interest to be present with the “good news” and a helping hand. Contemporary, professional media journalism is his craft. Having an intuitive awareness in what new media can do for society, he is interested in making a contribution to build on values of better relationships, based on fundamental Christian ethic, “but without fanatical overtones and aggressive proselytism,” he comments.

On a number of occasions, we exchanged views about ways to be professional and intentional in church communication, especially when the church needs to be seen and heard is a secularized milieu. Is there any other way but be just that, he kept asking? The market place of ideas demands it. There are other Adventist Web sites, but easily, if you need information about what is happening in the Polish Adventist Church, you will find it on a freshly updated and rich in a multi-platform media Web site of his local church. One gets a feeling that one is looking through a window, where you are informed, inspired and motivated for mission. This is where you need to be, I reckon. [For the Polish-speaking public, see: http://www.adwentysci.waw.pl/]

Frankly, access to information and transparency offers a staple of our everydayness. And frankly-speaking, for a Christian faith community, it wins the day when people are offered hope, honesty and convictions, and the church's mission reaches its objectives.

Jan’s passion and professionalism is an asset to have and to enjoy!

Next - Part Three: Dr. Marek Wronski

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