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Graphics in gray tones. It depicts Wlodzimierz Puchalski with a bird perched on his nose.
“Homing. Włodzimierz Puchalski” exhibition

Duration:  from 22 July to 6 November 2022

The role that Sir David Attenborough has for decades played for the British audience has its Polish equivalent in the person of Włodzimierz Puchalski. “Homing. Włodzimierz Puchalski”, the latest exhibition at the International Cultural Centre, showcases the work of this celebrated Polish naturalist, photographer, artist, and educator.


During a photo competition in Cairo in 1949, the press nicknamed Włodzimierz Puchalski the “Colosse” – a giant. It was for a reason. He was a photographer, pioneer of nature films, director, traveller, polar explorer, and a tireless advocate of knowledge about native fauna. In the communist era, his works – dozens of photo albums and books, documentary films, radio and TV programmes – shaped the Polish idea of communing with nature.


He started his work as a photographer and then a filmmaker in Lviv at the Lviv Polytechnic in the 1930s, and from the very beginning he enjoyed popularity and renown. In his work, which has been awarded many times in Poland and abroad, the most important are photographs of animals in their natural environment, usually taken from hiding. The technically flawless photos present distinct scientific and didactic value, while demonstrating powerful artistic qualities as well. This idea of aesthetic shaping of the image was instilled in Puchalski by the masters of the Lviv school of photography – Henryk Mikolasch and Witold Romer, among others.


The nearly 250 works on show at the ICC Gallery come mainly from the huge collection at the Niepołomice Museum. Compiled in four sections, in a subtle arrangement, they propose a new reading of the rich oeuvre of Włodzimierz Puchalski as one of the most famous Polish naturalists. The exhibition features a selection of masterful portraits of animals, wild and domestic, very intimate, but also not depriving them of their subjectivity. Black and white photos, in which Puchalski captured fragments of places usually inaccessible to people, allowed for a deeper experience of the beauty of nature.


Important for a full understanding of the photographer’s work are also photographic views of Lviv, on display for the first time. In the 1930s, Puchalski photographed the city similarly to nature, focusing on details, empty space, and cloud formations above the city. It was a very original way at the time. This theme is complemented by the works of the aforementioned two outstanding pioneers of photography and a 1938 unique film “Water” by Witold Romer.


The title is the scientific term, meaning the ability of animals to find their way home, even if they are outside their usual environment. In the space of the exhibition, homing concern storks from the village of Butyny, where in 1937 Włodzimierz Puchalski participated in a research project on this unusual phenomenon. Today, Butyny and the nearby village of Puchalski, Mosty Wielkie, are in Ukraine. That is why homing takes on yet another meaning – it becomes a metaphor for Ukrainians and their animal companions, who want to return to their homes at all cost, whose home instinct is rushing them back, although the Russian aggression continues. In this war, animals become equally important victims, they are given attention for the first time, people attempt to save them, and organise help for them.


It is this theme of the inextricable bond between humans and animals, exhibited for the first time in the context of war and exile caused by war, that brings attention to ecological contexts. The selection of Puchalski’s works therefore inspires further reflection on the effects of destructive human interventions in the natural environment, the crisis of biodiversity in the 20th century, and the rapid pace of extinction of a huge number of species. 


“Homing. Włodzimierz Puchalski” is yet another exhibition the ICC that seeks to examine the human relationship with the natural world. It follows the exhibition “Plants and Animals. Atlases of natural history in the age of Linnaeus” (2020), which addressed the fascination with this world in the era before the invention of photography. It also echoes the works of the Surrealist Max Ernst, shown at the ICC Gallery as part of the exhibition “An Ornithologist's Dreams” (2016). Meanwhile, the photos of pre-war views of Lviv propose a new approach to exploring the modern urban landscape in the early years the 20th century, presented at the exhibition “Lviv, 24 June 1937. City, Architecture, Modernism” (2018).


The exhibition “Homing. Włodzimierz Puchalski” is on show from July 22 to November 6, 2022 at the International Cultural Centre Gallery at Rynek Główny 25 in Krakow.





ICC programming

Agata Wąsowska-Pawlik, Łukasz Galusek

Exhibition concept and curating

Andrij Bojarov

Curatorial collaboration

Monika Rydiger (ICC), Aneta Słowikowska (Museum of Niepołomice)

Exhibition design

Anna Wisz


Karolina Wójcik

Consulting and collaboration in the making of the educational programme

Symbioza Nature Education Centre


Joanna Biegacz, Ewa Czarnecka, Marzena Daszewska, Magdalena Grabias, Joanna Hojda-Pepaś, Oliwia Kaczmarzewska, Dorota Korohoda, Dorota Kosiec, Paulina Małochleb, Weronika Mucha, Paulina Orłowska-Bańdo, Łukasz Pieróg, Angelika Radoń, Paulina Roszak-Niemirska, Agnieszka Sachar, Anna Sawłowicz, Klaudia Słupek, Anna Śliwa

With financial support of

Exhibition partner

Media patrons of the exhibition

Permanent media patrons

Works on display come from the collections of

Museum of Niepołomice

The Tatra Museum in Zakopane

Tatra National Park

National Museum in Wrocław

private collections


Blue graphics with black lettering.


Information about the accessibility of the exhibition for people with different disabilities.
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We invite you to the meetings that accompany the exhibition.
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Guided tours of the exhibition

Broaden your horizons and learn about contexts by joining our guided tours.
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Nature walks

We invite you to four thematic nature walks.
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Collectible posters with Włodzimierz Puchalski’s photographs

We invite you to buy the reproductions of the masterful photographs by one of the most famous Polish naturalists.
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Cinema on the roof of the ICC. Naturally

A summer film screening programme focused on the theme of nature. The screenings will take place on our rooftop terrace.
Black-and-white photo of a bird and the title of the series of podcasts.

“Nature on air” podcast series

We invite you to listen to the new series of ICC podcasts, this time devoted to the exhibition “Homing . W łodzimierz Puchalski”. We talk to professionals working in the field of culture and literature, but also to a botanist and an educator. The topics cover nature photography and the relationship between humans and nature.
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“Homing. Włodzimierz Puchalski” exhibition catalogue

The catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition “Homing. Włodzimierz Puchalski” is an extraordinary portrait of one of the most famous Polish naturalists, a photographer and educator. A story about his life and work, about his working methods and exceptional sensitivity to the beauty of nature.
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We invite you to our workshops, organised in connection with the “Homing. Włodzimierz Puchalski” exhibition.
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“Have you seen it?” promotional programme

Collect stamps and get a free ticket for the exhibition of Małgorzata Mirga-Tas.
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