This week, the 50th anniversary of the death of Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz (1904–1969) is being commemorated in Ankara with a festival celebrating his work. Bilkent University is one of several Turkish and Polish educational, cultural and governmental institutions contributing to the occasion.
According to information provided by the organizers of the commemoration, Witold Gombrowicz was a controversial artist who is still sometimes misunderstood even today; he described himself as an émigré who was not able to find his own place in the world. Nonetheless, he is considered one of the greatest Polish writers of all time. His books have been translated into nearly 40 languages, including English and Turkish.
The commemorative festival began on Monday, November 18, with an academic panel at Ankara University organized by the Department of Polish Language and Literature there. Today, November 19, the Bilkent University Department of Performing Arts is hosting a workshop conducted by a Polish actor and director, Prof. Krzysztof Skibski. And tomorrow, November 20, an exhibition titled “Émigré,” prepared by Polish artist and Bilkent Department of Fine Arts faculty member Beata Zalewska, will open at the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality’s Zafer Çarşısı Gallery at 6:30 p.m.
The exhibition opening will begin with a concert by the Bilkent String Quartet. In the exhibition, viewers will see copies of Gombrowicz’s manuscripts, photos from the archives of his wife, Rita Gombrowicz, and posters from previous festivals held at the Powszechny Theater in Radom, Polan. The exhibition will also feature works created by Turkish and Polish artists in tribute to the writer’s memory.
“Émigré” will remain open through November 27 at the Zafer Çarşısı Sanatlar Gallery in Kızılay. The festival was organized in cooperation with Rita Gombrowicz, the Polish Embassy in Ankara, Ankara Büyükşehir Belediyesi, Bilkent University, Ankara University, the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznan, Teatr Powszechny in Radom, the Witold Gombrowicz Museum in Nowa Wsola and the Polish Community Association in Ankara (Pol-Anka).