Polart 2018 – closing speech of the Festival by Malgorzata Kwiatkowska, president of the Polish Community Council of Australia,
Brisbane, 5 January 2019
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Szanowni Państwo, Drodzy Organizatorzy,
Over the last 10 days, we have been privileged to become part of PolArt 2018 festival, the largest and most diverse Polish festival held outside the Republic of Poland.
2018 – which marked a century of Poland regaining its independence as a sovereign state - was an extraordinary year for us all, Poles living in Poland and Polonia scattered all over the world. PolArt 2018 has been the final event of the Polish diaspora’s calendar of the independence celebrations in this important year.
During the festival, we have experienced traditional and contemporary Polish culture, vision and inspiration on a most impressive scale: from live theatre, music, literary event, film screenings, children’s day, fashion parade, visual art exhibitions as well as three amazing folkloric song and dance concerts and various impressive performances by artists who travelled from far and near to sunny Queensland.
The city of Brisbane has opened its doors to over 1,000 artists, dancers, actors, painters, photographers, writers and designers from Australia, New Zealand and Poland, performing at the city's iconic venues – including the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the State Library of Queensland, Griffith University Queensland College of Art, South Bank and Polonia Polish Association of Queensland in Milton. The Redland Performing Arts Centre was the heart of the PolArt festival outside the city.
During the festival, everyone can truly feel the spirit of Poland across the City of Brisbane and Redland. There are numerous banners and signs promoting the event, people wear traditional costumes and colours, and the Victoria Bridge linking the City with the welcoming Southbank parklands has been proudly lit at night by white and red lights, the colours of the Polish national flag.
All this has made Brisbane the cultural capital of Poland in Australia over the last 10 days. As the President of the Polish Community Council of Australia - which is a federation of Polish organizations across the whole country and the largest, most numerous community organization in Australia - I sincerely hope that many of you have grown to enjoy the Polish climate and culture, and will become regular visitors to the Polish House in Milton.
On behalf of the Polish Community Council in Australia, I would like to acknowledge and thank the City of Brisbane and the City of Redland, and the people of Brisbane for their hospitality that has enabled this unique festival to contribute to the rich and vibrant multicultural tapestry of Queensland.
I would like to thank all of you who have come to Brisbane this year to participate, support, and enjoy the colourful spectacle of this year’s PolArt!
All of you - performers and spectators - have contributed to the event that has showed off the best of Poland and the Polish community in Australia, including the beauty, diversity and richness of traditional Polish folkloric song, dance and culture. Thank you!
Sincere thanks to group leaders, parents and friends for supporting their youth! We all believe in the positive impact that this year’s PolArt will bring to their lives – from a deeper understanding and connection to their heritage, to an appreciation for the ethnic diversity of Australia. I believe many of you have met and made new friends; let those new connections and friendships thrive and last for many years!
Congratulations and thank you to the members of the PolArt 2018 Organizing Committee and volunteers, for their effort, creativity, enthusiasm and energy. You have brought this wonderful and brilliant event to Brisbane, and led it with passion and well deserved success! Special thanks to PolArt’s Executive Committee lead by Henry Kurylewski, Founding President and Artistic Director and Chris Dutkowski, Festival Chairperson. Thank you!
Finally, on behalf of the Polish Community Council in Australia and the PolArt Inc., I would like to invite everyone to the next PolArt Festival which will be held over Christmas and New Year holidays in 2021.
The winner of the PolArt 2021 will be announced tonight after the meeting of all folkloric ensembles representatives. So far we know that Sydney has filed its candidature.
Thank you all again and see you at the next PolArt in three years’ time.
I now declare PolArt 2018 officially closed, however the event at the Piazza will continue until 4.00 o’clock this afternoon.
P.S. Sydney has been confirmed at the host of PolArt 2021.