– Marco Carvalho

Saint John Paul II was the central figure of an art exhibition that was recently held at the Seminary of Saint Joseph. The twenty paintings that Polish artist Joanna Sobcyzk-Pająk brought to Macau are part of a bigger exhibition about Karol Wojtyla that will be inaugurated on Krakow in the beginning of July.

Seen as one of the architects of the end of communism in Eastern Europe, John Paul II was born in 1920. Poland and the world will celebrate next year the centenary of Wojtyla’s birth, but Joanna Sobcyzk-Pająk and the Pontifical University John Paul II, in Krakow, decided to celebrate earlier than anyone else. The artist and the University will promote, in the beginning of next month, an exhibition that evokes the life and the spiritual legacy of St. John Paul II: “I am preparing an exhibition that will be held in Krakow to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Pope John Paul II,” the artist told O Clarim. “With this exhibition I intend to celebrate, in fact, several important moments. Forty years have passed since Karol Wojtyla’s first visit to Poland as a Pope. This visit was very important to Poland and to the Polish people. Macau and Krakow are the first places to receive this exhibition. In a certain way, Macau took the best on Krakow,” Joanna Sobcyzk-Pająk explains.

The exhibition that was held at the Seminary of St Joseph is an abridged version of the exhibit that is due to open in Krakow on the 2nd of July.  Joanna Sobcyzk-Pająk brought nineteen paintings. The exhibition “John Paul II. People and Places” reflects the attitude of great humility that the Polish Pontiff, the artist says, was able to convey both to the Church and to the world:” It was not easy for me to name this exhibition. The paintings are very different. I finally opted for this title. Pope John Paul II has been in so many places and was so close to so many personalities, to so many people that this seemed the most appropriate title,” the artist claims.

Almost fifteen years after his death, John Paul II remains a leading figure in his native Poland. Joanna Sobcyzk-Pająk considers Karol Wojtyla an inspiration and assumes the desire that the art she produces can bring people closer to Wojtyla’s legacy: “John Paul II is a very important figure for the Polish people. It is still a reference for me. He was the Pope when I was a child, when I was a teenager. His teachings were very important when my personality was being formed,” Sobcyzk-Pająk says. “As an artist, as someone who seeks to inspire others with my work and my art, I think my work is a good way to get others to know more about a character like John Paul II,” the young painter asserts.

Archbishop of Krakow between 1964 and 1978, Karol Wojtyla passed away on the 2nd of April 2005, at the age of 84. He was canonized by the Catholic Church less than a decade later, on April 27th, 2014.

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