New Sculpture in McGolrick Park Unearths Greenpoint’s Roots

Ziemia by Martynka Wawrzyniak on display at McGolrick Park
Revel in this, Greenpointers: the first new sculpture McGolrick Park has seen in decades will be unveiled on Saturday.
Ziemia: Our Stories Are Written in Soil  is a public art installation by New York-based Polish artist Martynka Wawrzyniak that reflects on the history of our jewel box neighborhood. Greenpoint is a melting pot of families of diverse backgrounds, holding significant cultural ties to Poland with the long-standing Polish diaspora situated in the neighborhood. In honor of the centennial celebration of Poland’s independence being restored, Ziemia is presented thanks to the support and collaboration of the Polish Cultural Institute New York as a multidisciplinary public art project opening from 2–5 PM on Saturday, June 9 with a wide range of activities. Visitors are invited to a family-friendly environment to appreciate the artwork, enjoy live music, educational workshops, and Polish snacks. There will even be a chance to win a trip to Poland by participating in the Sto Lat Polska project!

Greenpoint-based artist Martynka Wawrzyniak situates the sculpture in a meadow in McGolrick Park, through a New York City Department of Parks and Recreation partnership. The sculpture serves as a collective portrait of the diverse Greenpoint community. It is glazed with a mixture of clay excavated in Greenpoint and soils contributed by participating residents from places that are symbolically representative of their identities, including: the United States, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, France, Japan, Serbia, Nepal, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, Mexico, and Namibia. The project includes many Poles who have lived in Greenpoint for generations.
Polish Cultural Institute New York Director Anna Domańska notes, “Multiculturalism is part of the organic fabric of New York…[and] The Ziemia project expresses this in a beautiful and symbolic way – our roots have grown on different ground, but by interweaving in a new place they have created a new culture, with a commitment to liberty at its base.” These roots are apparent in the meadow where the orb sits where plants existing in this neighborhood since precolonial times flourish — many of which are also native to the Polish countryside.
See below for more details, and continue to support local art and artists!
Saturday, June 9 Schedule
2:00 Ecological workshops for kids
3:00–3:20 Inaugural speeches
3:30–4:00 Jazz concert: Karolina Beimcik (voice, violin), Rafał Sarnecki (guitar), Matt Aronoff (double bass)
4:00–5:00 Jazz by Jesse Lynch Ensemble
2:00–5:00 Sto Lat, Polska! A Postcard To Poland — all are welcome to say your custom “Happy birthday” to Poland for the 100th anniversary of Polish independence by using our new web application
4:00–5:00 Picnic with Polish touch bites

About Billy McEntee

Billy McEntee has been fortunate to work for arts non-profits in Boston, Denver, Berkeley, and now New York. His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Vanity Fair, American Theatre, HowlRound, Observer, and others. He's usually getting wine at Dandelion or eating cookies at Archestratus.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *