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Rediscovering the Past Through Collage:
'Why Haven't I Met My Grandma When She Was Young?'

a collage album by Beata Mordawska

Cultural Scholarship of City of Gdansk, 2021

to loving memory of Ritta Romel Czarnowska (1936 - 2012)

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In the realm of art, there exists a unique fusion of the past and the present, where history meets modernity. This captivating blend is brilliantly encapsulated in the artistic endeavor titled 'Why Haven't I Met My Grandma When She Was Young?'—a poignant collage collection that transcends time and memory.

Crafted with attention to detail, these collages serve as a heartfelt tribute to the artist's beloved grandmother. This album, initially created for a cultural scholarship offered by the city of Gdańsk, is a testament to the enduring connection between generations. The pieces within this collection were first unveiled to the world in January 2022, ushering viewers into a realm where abstract art and vintage photography intertwine.

At the core of this project lies a profound exploration of one's ancestral roots, drawing inspiration from the rich and renowned culture of Kaszëbë, a region that has left an indelible mark on the artist's identity. The poignant title 'Why Haven't I Met My Grandma When She Was Young?' invites us to ponder the fleeting nature of time and the desire to bridge the temporal chasm that separates us from our forebears.

These stunning collages blend abstract forms and vibrant colors with the evocative power of vintage photographs. The juxtaposition of abstract and concrete elements creates a vivid tapestry where the past and present harmoniously coexist. Each collage tells a unique story, breathing new life into the captivating images captured in the youth of Polish women from the 1960s.

In a world where the pace of life is ever-accelerating, this art offers a moment of reflection, inviting viewers to traverse the sands of time. The collection's debut at the Museum of Kaszëbë Culture in Kartuzy during the Night of Museums 2022 was met with enthusiasm and acclaim, further underscoring the emotional resonance of this work.

The collages are not confined to gallery walls alone; they are versatile additions to interior spaces, capable of reviving and rejuvenating any setting. Much like the allure of Hollywood film stars from the 1960s, these images captivate the senses and transport us to an era rich with nostalgia and charm.

'Why Haven't I Met My Grandma When She Was Young?' is a heartfelt journey through time and memory, masterfully blending the traditional with the contemporary. It's an invitation to rediscover the past, embrace the present, and celebrate the enduring legacy of our ancestors. These works, brimming with color, emotion, and history, are a testament to the enduring power of art to transcend generations.

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Ritta crocheted  mandalas

and loved to pose

among filodendron monstera plants.

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She never flew with Lufthansa

but fell in love with a potato-nose man

bearing a strong Germanic name Medard.

Medard was created by maht - "might, authority, power, bravery" and hart - "strong, brave, bold".

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Ritta inherited a piece of Matthäus Schiestl (Austrian,1869), the favourite art of her mother.

The forest in the village she used to live in

was very much alike.



The photos of Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and philodendron are borrowed for purely artistic purpose and art promotion.

This e-book is free of any charge.

Audrey Hepburn wedding photo - Ernst Haas, 1954

Audrey Hepburn in a black costume - Bettmann

Marilyn Monroe with a sheep - André de Dienes 1949

Marilyn Monroe in a swimming suit - André de Dienes 1949

Marilyn Monroe sitting - GETTY IMAGES 1954

​​In the background are the paintings of Beata Mordawska and Matthäus Schiestl.


On the photographs a friend of Ritta, Maryla Darznik. 

The name of the photographer remains unknown.


This project was supported by:

The Cultural Scholarship of The City of Gdańsk, 2021

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