Page 61 - SilverKris March 2014

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PHOTOS
INMAGINE
D
otted among the maize and
wheat fields of the rural
village of Zalipie are some
200 cottages. Look closer and you’ll
notice that painted floral displays
bedeck dozens of them.
It’s hard to believe that these
cheery paintings were born from
domestic necessity. Up to the
late 19th century, the women of
southern Poland cooked on stoves
with no chimneys. Smoke was
cleared through holes in the ceiling,
leaving the kitchen walls blackened
with soot. On special occasions, the
women would brighten up these
darkened areas with round spots of
lime paint. These blotches evolved
into flower-shaped motifs which
the women daubed out using a
homemade paint of brown clay, soot
and lime powder bound with milk,
sugar or egg white. Over time, these
designs became more elaborate and
colourful, and began spreading all
over the house and outside as well.
Since 1965, the village has
held a Painted Cottages contest
around the festival of Corpus
Christi (usually inMay or June). In
the weeks before, women can be
seen whitewashing faded works
of the past year from the exterior
walls of their homes and painting
bunches, wreaths and garlands of
flowers on them. Even the chicken
coops, piggeries and stables – and
the troughs and mangers – are
festooned with delightful blooms.
The whole village joins in this
painting frenzy – with the school,
church, fire station and Dom
Malarek (the “House of Painters”
where the “flower” women meet
to paint souvenirs for tourists) also
smartened up with floral patterns.
Zalipie is located 36km north of
the southern Polish town of Tarnow
– near where the Dunajec and
Vistula rivers meet.
BYMATIAS TUGORES
Zalipie,
Poland
A
B
A
Houses decorated
with hand-drawn
flowers bring a
cheery air to the
village of Zalipie.
B
Women of the
village also
produce painted
souvenirs for
tourists.
J O U R N A L S
discover
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