Animals in Warsaw: On The Trail of Relationships

Address Rynek Starego Miasta 28-42, Warszawa
Entry PLN 7–12
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Curator Lena Wicherkiewicz, Ewa Wieruch-Jankowska, Rafał Kosewski

The history of Warsaw is not only a history of people. It is home to several thousand animal species that work for us, keep us company and provide entertainment, are a source of food and raw materials and remain an indispensable factor in the city’s ecological balance.

The exhibition Animals in Warsaw. Tracing Relationships allows us to look at the complex nature of human-animal relations in Warsaw. It draws attention to the multifarious presence of animals in the history of the city, emphasises that their status has changed over the years and that this evolution is not complete. The exhibition features more than 400 artefacts – historical monuments, works of art and objects of everyday use – which show the kinds of relationships between humans and animals in the city. These will include products made from animal raw materials, unusual zoological specimens and archaeological artefacts, tools for training and care. An attempt will be made to examine the social identity of the non-human inhabitants of Warsaw. The relationships of people with animals and their role and status in society are presented using five categories: specimens, commodities, labour force, companions, neighbours.

The exhibition also presents the profiles of Warsaw’s animal inhabitants – mussels working at Gruba Kaśka or Lily, a pig rescued from a kennel. Each part of the exhibition is complemented by works by contemporary artists, including Diana Lelonek and Bartosz Kokosiński, which provide a critical commentary on the issues raised, show today’s perspective and often look into the future of inter-species relations. The exhibition Animals in Warsaw. Tracking Relationships is an attempt to look at the capital from a non-obvious, zoocentric perspective. Based on testimonies from different eras, it shows how the attitude of residents towards animals has changed. It aims to speak up in defence of urban nature and change the way we think about animals as inhabitants of Warsaw.

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