21. јула 2023

Marija Solujić
University of Arts in Belgrade, Faculty of Fine Arts

Erasmus+ Mobility for Studies at:

Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland

I had the privilege to experience four months of my Erasmus exchange program at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. I feel as if I was fortunate to fulfil two essential motifs I had from the beginning: To encounter new people with whom I’ll share and create, and to develop and redefine my previous artistic practise.

It’s easy to fall in love with the city that has such cultural continuity inter-wined with a colourful turbulent historical timeline as Krakow. Also, what made Krakow a good host, is how quiet, peaceful and clean it felt. Something that had special impact on my work as well was constantly detecting similarities between Serbian and Polish heritage. Not only various connections exist due to Slavic roots, but also considering the hard times through history, during which both of our countries experienced a wide range of wars and occupations. I was deeply amazed by the way that the old monuments with architectural complex of the city are perfectly preserved and seriously looked after. As for the institution I grew to belong to, Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts is the example of monumental architecture, built in neoclassical style, holding a tittle of the oldest fine art Academy in Poland. There I was fortunate to feel free when exploring and guiding myself as a part of an academic community. I felt greatly encouraged to continue to define my existing artistic poetics, giving extension to classical mediums, and the most challenging point for every artist – to develop quality communication with professors and assistants through that process.

All this reasons always made me comfortable and motivated to spend the most of my time at that special special place ,,studio 302” – a workshop with unique working hours which meant – always open, and the place that gave me unforgettable moments of shared creativity, knowledge and experience. Even though Krakow was definitely my dearest, I also did a few tours around the country. All the way up to the colourful city of Gdansk and Baltic shore, back to the south, climbing the Highlanders of Poland. The last but not the least was a challenging city of Warsaw, where historical architecture blends harmoniously with modern. Granting the fact polish language shouldn’t  be much of a challenge for a Serbian speaker, it surely took some effort and time but without it, it wouldn’t be really possible to reach those most hermetic parts of culture and society – such as an old open markets which gifted me with positive energy from day to day. Even though Academy had to be closed for the period of one month due to gas supply reasons, I was fortunate to spend this time at a private studio in mysterious Kazimeirz district with colleagues from Academy. In that diverse prolific atmosphere I was constantly discovering a gemstones of polish music, cinema and fine art. Creativity process with people from both Polish and Erasmus student from ll around Europe, made it so much more dynamic. Enriched with each others differences, that multicultural fusion highly influenced me.

Above all, I honestly believe this journey I had as an Erasmus student made me a better person. I am thankful that not only I am bringing pallet of precious memories with me, but it‘s the lasting friendships that count the most. Extraordinary people who gave me wings. People who made me recollect my visions, who helped me reflect my own values. Overall, one more time in life I was reminded, how greatly more enjoyable is to give, than to receive.

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