Skopje. A city of solidarity

Conceived by the International Cultural Centre in Krakow and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, the exhibition recalls the extraordinary international response to the tragedy of Skopje, a city where the time stopped running on the morn of 26 July 1963 at 5:17. An earthquake lasting a bare 20 seconds destroyed nearly 80 per cent of the city, including the majority of historical buildings, resulting in a hundred thousand people losing their homes.

Those dramatic events moved deeply the public opinion around the world. A decision was made to rebuild the city as a symbol of not only fraternity and unity of the Yugoslav nations but also of global solidarity. The exhibition presents Poland’s contribution to the project: architect Adolf Ciborowski, who was tasked by the United Nations with the function of supervising the reconstruction of the ruined city, and city planner Stanisław Jankowski, who headed a team of Polish architects. On view are also amazing and innovative planning concepts by Kenzō Tange, the winner of a competition for a new downtown plan.

Off-beat, avant‑garde Brutalist designs made Skopje one of Europe’s most attractive cities in terms of architecture. Polish artists’ made a gift to the city – a design for a museum of contemporary art by a Warsaw‑based team of architects known as the Warsaw Tigers (Wacław Kłyszewski, Jerzy Mokrzyński and Eugeniusz Wierzbicki), and donated a selection of Polish paintings, sculptures and prints to its collection. The Krakow exhibition showcases part of that special assemblage, which includes works by celebrated artists such as Tadeusz Brzozowski, Jerzy Krawczyk, Alfred Lenica, Benon Liberski, Ewa Maria Łunkiewicz‑Rogoyska, Jerzy Nowosielski, Teresa Pągowska, Henryk Stażewski, Andrzej Strumiłło or Rajmund Ziemski.

The project Skopje. A city of solidarity was initiated by the Polish Embassy in Skopje, which has for several years supported studies of the Polish contribution to the rebuilding process.
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