Assistant Professor, Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Multimedia Communication, Poland
Lecturing: Communications and Journalism, Experimental Video
Host: Florida Atlantic University, Fla.
December 1999-May 2000
Marek Wasilewski, an assistant professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Posnan, Poland, spent the spring semester at Florida Atlantic University teaching courses on experimental sculpture and eastern European art and cinema. The exchange not only benefited the students, who had a unique opportunity to study under an artist from a different part of the world, but also served as a learning experience for the scholar. "The goal of the Fulbright program is to promote a mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries," Wasilewski said. "Ironically my teaching experience forced me to understand better the culture I'm coming from."
While in Florida, the scholar also had time to devote to his own creative work, which he shared with the campus through a video installation, "Transition Point," at the university's Schmidt Gallery. According to his faculty host, Robert Arnold, Wasilewski's work "transforms every-day objects and materials into ambiguous forms, challenging the spectator/participant to question the boundaries of the familiar and the self."
As both a widely exhibited artist and published art scholar, Wasilewski received many invitations from community organizations to speak about his home country and the Polish art movement to which he belongs. His activities included addressing the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art as well as making presentations to the Polish American Cultural Society to commemorate Polish Constitution Day.
Among the highlights of Wasilewski's stay in the United States was an occasional lecturer visit he made to Alaska in May. The guest speaking invitation was offered by the artistic directors of Out North Contemporary Art House in Anchorage, whom the scholar had met during a 1999 presentation in Lithuania. At Out North, Wasilewski gave a video/slide presentation on contemporary Polish art and opened an exhibition of his work, "Objects from Everyday Life." According to the scholar, the video exhibition was "influenced by my observations during the six months residency in the USA. Living in a new place and being surrounded by different realities enables me to see the details of this reality with a different angle." Gene Dugan, one of Wasilewski's Out North hosts, wrote of the visit, "This presentation helped validate the work of artists working in contemporary genres in our community, and let them feel connected to the greater world of contemporary art. Barriers and borders were eradicated, and valuable dialogue took place. . . . This brief residency was truly ground-breaking for Alaska."
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