19 June 2007

invited guest: Michał Łuczak - Nikisz

Works of Michał Łuczak create subjective description of Silesian reality. Michał made this pictures for himself as a record of the sentimental trip into the place where his great grandparents lived – to small miners settle called Nikisz, built on 1912 on the edge of Katowice. This trip took him two years.

Nikiszowiec was created at the land belonging to „Gieshe“ mine, close to shaft called „Nickisch“. It was design by German architects - Zillman brothers as perfect place for mine workers to live – the most modern urbanistic ideas were there implemented. There was created unique, aesthetically homogeneous settle.

As it was created to the miners, the atmosphere of the settle was determined by this what’s most important for them: labour ethos, order, religion. Life wasn’t easy, but people lived close to each other, making their life depending on neighbours presence and help. Settle was planned with green urban areas, so Nikisz was an island in the industrial Upper Silesia.
Miners families lived there in almost untouched way till 1970s.
1970s brought intensification of coal excavation and increase of miners status – old inhabitants of Nikisz moved to modern houses, and their place was taken by incoming workers from all over the country.
1989 ended the prosperity of mines and miners, ended also good life in Nikisz.
People stopped to share their life with neighbours, shutting down the doors to their safe castles. There is no common sport, music, taking care of children. With emerging process of shutting down the mines, people are loosing their jobs and they are not prepared to work anywhere else but in mines. Their children are inheriting their unemployment and in many cases their alcoholism.
Despite of the fact that inhabitants of Nikisz changed, not many are working in mining industry, life of Nikisz settle is shaped by the rhythm of it’s founder – mine (today called “Wieczorek”).
This grey life of Nikisz changes few times per year, mainly during Barbórka (St. Barbara day – holy day for all miners in Poland). Nikisz returns that day to its past, crowded by people in miners uniforms, surrounded by miners orchestras music…

Michał Łuczak (1983) - Silesian photographer, currently studying photography in Opava (Czech Republic)
invited by Marcin Górski


ulf said...

They are truly magnificent these pictures
I love the men with their hats on the shelf and the little angel running in the hallway
Photography at its best
thanks for being here!

Carolina said...

great great work
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th and 9th are just amazing. welldone