Monumental Efforts Monumental Efforts

A six-meter tall yellow, Styrofoam monument has caused a stir after being unveiled in October in the courtyard of the Academy of Fine Arts. Drawing parallels to the ‘Four Sleepers’ monument celebrating Polish-Soviet ‘brotherhood in arms’, the parody has been revealed to be the work of Kaisu Almonkari. However, rather than adorning the sculpture with figures of soldiers like the original, the artist has chosen to crown her version with positive role models such as a family unit, as well as Pope John Paul II, ski jumper Adam Małysz, scientist Marie Skłodowska Curie and poet Wisława Szymborska.

Speaking to TVN Warszaswa, Almonkari said that she hoped her work would draw attention to both the state and fate of Warsaw’s monuments. “I don’t think the Four Sleepers monument should ever have been removed,” said the artist, “while I realize many people thought it was a controversial installation, we can’t rewrite history – we shouldn’t remove monuments just because they make us uncomfortable.”

The Sleepers

Erected in 1945, the Monument to Brotherhood in Arms depicted the Polish-Soviet military struggle against the Nazis and stood in Praga at the intersection of Dworzec Wileński. Removed in 2011 due to work on the second metro line, it’s been held in storage ever since. It became known locally as the ‘Four Sleepers’ not just because of the docile posture of the soldierly sculptures, but also because of the Red Army’s inaction during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. While the removal of the work was greeted with widespread approval, a growing number of people are demanding the statue is rehoused in a museum or a similar cultural institution.

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