Past Exhibitions

100 Years, So What?

Polish Multimedia Artists on Centenary of Women’s Voting Rights13th June – 28th July 2018

Centrala presents a group exhibition 100 Years, So What? by Polish multimedia artists: Małgorzata Dawidek, Iwona Demko, Dorota Hadrian, Zofia Krawiec, Katarzyna Perlak, Alicja Rogalska and SIKSA.

2018 marks the centenary of women gaining voting rights in many countries around the world including Poland and the UK. Artists show their works that enter into a dialogue on what this centenary means for women now, through the new mediums of avant-garde art.

‘’…today’s world needs transgression from the growing level of inequality and injustice. The centenary of women’s emancipatory work in Poland, since obtaining the rights for voting, is the centenary that mirrors the ability of humanity to get rid of one of these injustices, the gender inequality, perhaps get rid of gender in general.’’ (Urszula (Ulla) Chowaniec)

Alicja Kaczmarek said “Through the artists’ works we will create reflection of what these 100 years of women’s emancipation really mean. Is feminism in contemporary Europe more than a trend? Have we really achieved what the successive generations of women were fighting for? Have things really changed so much over the past century?”

The title of the exhibition  includes a sceptical “so what?” However, despite all these doubts and concerns the message is far from being pessimistic – provoking perhaps, a bit angry, most of all it reflects on achievements, failures and neglects over a hundred years of women’s civil independence. The exhibition examines the contemporary innovative and experimental  women’s art as a channel towards radical redefinition of the position of women in politics, society, family, or history.

A natural development of the exhibition is the Instagram account @100yearssowhat led by Polish feminist artist and writer Zofia Krawiec. We encourage girls and women from around the world to tell us what women’s rights means for them today using the hashtag #100yearsSOWHAT

Associated Events:

11th-12th June 2018 Conference; Impacts of Gender Discourse on Polish Politics, Society & Culture organised by Urszula Chowaniec (London, UCL)

13th June 2018 Private View (Centrala)

13th June 2018 Exhibition Discussion led by Agata Pyzik

15th June 2018 Exhibition Tour

21th June 2018 Anna Jochymek performance in collaboration with Supersonic (Centrala)

19th July 2018 Feminist Art Seminar (Centrala)

19th July 2018 SIKSA Performance (Centrala)

100 Years So What

About the Artist – Jindrich Streit 

Having always lived and worked among his subjects Streit is well known locally and is assumed to always be carrying his camera. His photographs strikingly reveal this intimate relationship with the villagers, but are often brutally frank about the hard life that was etched out by the people of Sovinec.

Exhibition Information: Sovinec by Jindřich Štreit


Centrala  presents the exhibition  ‘Sovinec’ by Jindrich Streit, one of the most important Czech Documentary Photographers.

For over 40 years, primary school teacher Jindrich Streit has been photographing the people of his home village Sovinec in the north of the Czech Republic.

These images were unsettling for the authorities, who in 1982 imprisoned him for, amongst other things, photographing a party meeting where people were asleep. As a result, he lost his teaching job and had to join his friends who worked on the local collective farm. Despite this, Streit persevered with his photographic work, responding by opening his house to the local community and building a gallery for contemporary are on the first floor. Today it is a remarkable cultural center that attracts work from around the world.

This Exhibition is supported by Arts Council England, Czech Centre in London, Eric Franck Fine Art and The Side Gallery. The Exhibition is part of the Capture Birmingham weekend 19- 20 March.


Exhibition Information: H.N.5 515

In H.N.5 515 Sława Harasymowicz uses personal biography (and documentary records) to explore one of the biggest World War II maritime disasters that still remains obscured in history and clouded in ambiguity.

On 3 May 1945 in Neustadt Bay near Lübeck, three stationary German ships, Cap Arcona, Thielbek and SS Deutschland were torpedoed by RAF Hawker Typhoons. The production of these timed mechanisms proved poignantly if ironically futile in confrontation with the fighter-bomber planes.

As a way of unpacking or exposing the personal and public significance of this event and interrogating the impulses of knowledge, destiny, timing and control, Harasymowicz juxtaposes drawing, print, found footage, archives and sound.


Artist Information: Sława Harasymowicz

Sława Harasymowicz is a Polish-born, London based artist. Graduate of the Royal College of Art, she is currently a PhD candidate at University of the Arts, London. Her practice negotiates the positions between the personal and the public in exploring questions around history, memory and identity. Harasymowicz is also a published artist, including Wolf Man, a graphic novel based on Sigmund Freud’s case study (2012). Her work is held in V&A Prints and Drawings Permanent Collection and other public and private collections.


Antonisz was a maker of animated and experimental films, one of the founders of the Cracow Animated Film Studio, an inventor and a composer.
He made 36 films, of which the majority were drawn directly onto film tape. In 1977’s Non-Camera Artistic Manifesto, he formulated his vision of the artistic film, created directly onto the film tape without the use of a camera, stating that: “…Only films made with the Non Camera technique can be called authentic works of visual, painting, graphic and musical art.”

Exhibition Information: ANTONISZ: Experimental Animation Exhibition

Many times awarded at film festivals in Poland and abroad. His work is a singular and one time phenomenon. Deep reflections are hidden under these humorous and seemingly light-hearted films and the expressive and, as it were, over-wrought music and ‘raw’ animation with its trembling contours and pulsating colours give them their unusual strength of expression.

“…Only films made with the Non Camera technique can be called authentic works of visual, painting, graphic and musical art…”

Exhibition Information: Conversio [“The Topography of Intimacy”]

“Conversio” is a multi-lingual & visual narration based on the stories of migrant women.
The project will consist of a series interviews and video-animations based on these, as well as art design objects, publications and series of literary and artistic workshops.
The main idea behind the project is to investigate the processes of adoption and redefinition of the woman’s past life experience in the context of dramatic changes in life conditions.
Another aim is the analysis of the phenomenon of female emotionality and women’s bodies understood as a feature of memory, a medium of history, alongside changes and reevaluations dependent on external circumstances. “Conversio” refers to the female body, understood as a process-narrative, a developing text. It analyses the phenomenon of the body, which on the one hand is subjected to language, and on the other hand refuses articulation and immunizes itself against words. The body becomes a part of a wider plot, but also as a condition its leading.

Artist Information: Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka

Małgorzata Dawidek is a visual artist born in Poland. She studied Painting (1996-2001) and Art Criticism (1997 – 2002) at the Academy of Fine Art in Poznan. She got her PhD in art history at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (2009). She is now an Assistant Professor in the Institute of European Culture at Polish University Abroad in London.

The artist started her six week residency at Centrala Gallery where she will be working on her project “Conversio”.

Artist’s Information: Anton Koovit, Carl-Robert Kagge and Uku Sepsivart 

Three artists Anton Koovit, Carl-Robert Kagge and Uku Sepsivart with the street art background from Tallinn, Estonia will take over Centrala Gallery and Minerva Works wall depicting produce and items that are symbolic of Estonian life.

Exhibition Information: PIND: Estonian Art Project

PIND is an international art project, organised by the independent cultural producer Jaanika Okk and the Polish Expats Association. The project focuses on site specific art and collaboration. The aim of the project is to create a platform for international relationship between artists from Tallinn and Birmingham. Generating discussions and exchanging experiences as well as knowledge for mutual growth.

PIND (surface or a space in Estonian) represents the space in Birmingham, which Estonian artists are occupying during two month period.

Exhibition Information: Dissidents and Dreamers
Centrala Space presents an Exhibition of Anti Authoritarian Protest Art and Music from the East and West.  This exhibition is a selection of Punk protest art  and documents produced before the fall of the Iron Curtain from the East and West, including works by Gee Vaucher and Oscar Kasperek. Gee Vaucher’siconic imagery made with Anarcho-punk band Crass was inspirational to the ‘protest art’ of the 1980s and still resonates today. From the same period but on the other side of Europe Oscar Kasperek’s work was equally provocative. The exhibition is the part of Supersonic Festival.

Artist Information: Gee Vaucher & Oscar Kasperek.

Gee Vaucher is a visual artist who was born in 1945 in Dagenham, East London. Her work with Anarcho-punk band Crass was ovular to the ‘protest art’ of the 1980s. Vaucher has always seen her work as a tool for social change, and has expressed her strong anarcho-pacifist and feminist views in her paintings and collage. Vaucher also uses surrealist styles and methods.

 Oscar Kasperek’s work is equally provocative and thoughtful from his portraits of fellow prisoners to his use of stamps which leave small traces in the environment to present a dialogue with the surrounding world.