Friday, December 28, 2018

January 12, 2019 - Monique Lehman and Marek Dzida at Hellada Gallery in Long Beach

We cordially invite Modjeska Club members and friends to the first club meeting of 2019 with prominent artist Monique Lehman Chmielewski and the owner of the Hellada Gallery, Marek Dzida. It will take place on January 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm, at the Hellada Gallery, 117 Linden Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802. The number of places is limited, first come, first serve, so please RSVP to VP Witold Sokolowski by January 8, 2019 at

 Monique Lehman is the creator of fascinating fiber art, with original aesthetics and a great technique. Her works have been exhibited in solo shows and large exhibitions around the world, most recently in China, Uruguay and the Ukraine. They are also found in many collections of important museums and American, Polish and Chinese institutions. In the Hellada Gallery, we will hear about her creative ideals and we will see selected works. For many years, Marek Dzida has run the Hellada Gallery, where he holds lectures on the reception and creation of fine arts and presents many exhibitions. The theme of his presentation in Hellada will be "The Art of Seeing."

Save the dates for the next meetings: 3 February (Duet Piramidy from Poland at Playa Vista), 17 February (Writer Magdalena Gorzalkowska in West Hills) and 17 March (Krzysztof Dzikowski and Wiktoria Tracz at South Pasadena Library).


Lehman weaves a portrait of her father comic-book creater Mr. Chmielewski

A native of Warsaw, Poland and a graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, Monique Lehman is an accomplished and original tapestry artist whose work may be found in museum collections around the world (the Vatican, Long Beach Museum of Art, Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland and the Space Museum in Cape Canaveral, FL), as well as in many American public buildings, city halls, churches, hospitals and synagogues. Her creative output continues the centuries of development of unique fiber art tradition, previously unknown in America and created exclusively by Polish artists.  

Lehman in China with a poster based on her self-portrait tapestry

Monique Chmielewski came from Poland to USA in 1978 invited by an American artist to teach at her studio in California. When the Pope John Paul II visited Chicago, Monique greeted him by presenting his portrait she wove as a 6’ x 4’ tapestry. Since the American TV showed this event on the news, the public learned about the Polish tapestry school.

Working on a tapestry at home

Monique was invited to lecture about art and soon Polish tapestries became desirable objects for American collectors. Ms. Lehman, a member of Zwiazek Polskich Artystow Plastykow, shares her time between exhibiting, working on large commissions, and organizing art shows for artists from China in Poland and Polish artists in American and China museums. She is a real ambassador of Polish Fiber Art. Her knowledge of languages and cultures help her to promote Polish art in Asia and the Americas. This year she was invited as a special guest to World Textile Art in Uruguay and Biennale of Art in Karachi, Pakistan.

Fragment of award-winning Chopin Cape by Lehman

Monique’s accomplishment is bringing European visual criteria to America and China, as well as sharing Polish culture. Her monumental tapestries such as the parochet for Temple Beth El, La Jolla, CA, or the Portrait of St. Francis, typically take several years to complete. The large-scale works created on commission are just one side of her creative talent. She also developed an original style of abstract tapestries, that are three dimensional, may change shapes, and have a rich palette of colors and textures to express their themes.  

With large tapestry at Pasadena City College

Since 2010, she participated in 29 prominent international exhibitions on four continents (Asia, North and South America and Europe), including exhibitions held in: Ottawa and Vancouver, Canada; Oaxaca, Mexico; Beijing and other cities in China; the Lodz Triennale, and many other exhibitions in Poland (Bytom, Czestochowa, Gdynia and so forth), as well as Long Beach, Palos Verdes, Ontario, and Pasadena in California. She was recently invited to show her fiber art as a solo artist in Montevideo, Uruguay, during the WTA Conference in October 2017, and will hold a Retrospective Exhibition in the Museum of Textiles in Beijing, China, in the following year. 

Lehman with her Rain Forest tapestry

She promotes tapestry art by organizing international shows in Europe, China and the U.S. One of her internationally exhibited projects with contributions by 100 artists from 20 countries was the Memorial Tapestry commemorating the victims of 9/11. Monique’s goal was to promote polish art not only in the USA but internationally. The artist participated in many Contemporary International Fiber Art Exhibitions and served as a jury member since 2006. For her achievements in the field of fiber arts, Monique Lehman received an honorary degree of Professor from Zibo Vocational Institute, in the city of Zibo, Shandong Province, China. She included many Polish artists in the largest Fiber Art show in Asia,“From Lausanne to Beijing.” She is a judge of this show and invited eminent Polish professors to join her in selecting the work for display. 

Working on the tapestry for La Jolla Temple Beth El.

Her unique passion is Wearable Art. In February 2017, she received a prize for her artwork at the International Exhibition of Wearable Art in Palos Verdes, Monique promotes this type of art which was first invented by Polish art students, who could not buy fashionable or original clothes in the 1970s so they made their own. Her biography will be available for purchase and signing during this event.


Born and raised in Poland, Dzida emigrated to the US in 1990. His European education includes high school and university in the subjects of high mathematics, chemistry, electronics, film and visual art. In the U.S. he received a college degree at the LBCC, Long Beach, in the profession of Photography. Since 1996, the owner of Hellada Gallery, presently located on 117 Linden Ave. Since 1998, he has been the manager and organizer of the 2nd Saturday Art Walk in Long Beach, an art fair on Linden Ave. Since 2000, he has been organizing the annual photography exhibition, Exposure. From 2012 to 2016 he has served on the board of director of (CALB) Cultural Alliance Long Beach.

Dzida is active as a community leader and art activist. The growth of Downtown Long Beach is very important for Marek’s personal and professional adventures. Working with the community in shaping the future of Long Beach would be a creative concept, which will enrich everyone.

As a photographer, he has worked with many subjects in the task of illustrating all personal resources and inspirations in the artistic process: from discoveries in natural environment to explorations in human behaviors through all possible interactions between the two. Art-works consist of silver prints on paper created through traditional Black & White photography techniques.    

Monday, December 17, 2018

Jadwiga Baranska Receives 2018 Modjeska Prize from Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club

The Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club presented the Helena Modjeska Prize 2018 to the distinguished Polish actress, Jadwiga Barańska on December 15, 2018.  The presentation took place at the McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga CA (7570 McGroarty Terrace, Tujunga, CA 91042) during the annual Christmas Caroling party of the club, featuring soprano Teresa Kubiak and pianist Wojciech Kocyan in a mini-recital of Polish carols.

Jadwiga Barańska, actress and screenwriter, is a graduate of the Theater Academy in Łódź, Poland. A prominent actress with numerous leading parts in Warsaw theatres in plays from the classical and contemporary repertoires, she also played dozens of roles on Polish TV. Among the most important of her theater roles are Laura in The Glass Menagerie by T. Williams, Masha in The Three Sisters by A. Chekhov, Lavinia in Mourning Becomes Electra by O'Neil, and Joanna in Skylark by Anhouil.  Her two most important film roles are: Countess Cosel in the film of the same name (Countess Cosel) as well as the lead role of Barbara Niechcic in Nights and Days, an epic movie that was nominated for an Academy Award in 1976.

Maja Trochimczyk Presents the Award to Jadwiga Baranska

In 1977, the Polish actress starred in American film, The Widows’ Nest. In 1979, Jadwiga Barańska came to the U.S. with her family. Since 1993, she has worked as a screenwriter with the following credits: The Lady of the Camellias (1994, screenplay by Barańska, directed by Jerzy Antczak), as well as Path of Glory by Humphrey Cobb and Caesar and Pompey directed by Jerzy Antczak. In the award-winning film Chopin - Desire for Love, by Jerzy Antczak, Jadwiga Barańska shared the writer's credits, was an associate director, and starred as Justyna Chopin, Frédéric Chopin's mother.

Award presentation. L to R: Witold Sokolowski, VP, Jadwiga Baranska, Maja Trochimczyk, Ewa Barsam.

For her artistic achievements she received numerous Polish and international awards.  In 1975 Jadwiga. Barańska was the recipient of the Golden Cross of Achievement for 30 years of working in Polish cinema and Grand Prix for Barbara from Nights and Days from the Polish Feature Films Festival in Gdańsk.  In 1976 she was awarded Golden Grapes for Barbara at the Łagów Festival in Poland; Silver Bear (Grand Prix) from the 26th West Berlin Festival of Feature Films and Golden Apsara for Countess Cosel, at the first Festival of Feature Films at Phenom Phen. 

Jadwiga Baranska with son Michal and Maja Trochimczyk, October 20 Concert, Beverly Hills

The role of Barbara in Night and Days was also recognized by The First Degree Award from the Polish Radio and Television; The Golden Screen (the Polish  Emmy Award), the State Award of First Degree, and The Golden Nail of Season (the greatest personality, 1977). The next year she appeared on the list of 10 Best Actresses in the 35 years of Polish films. She also won the title of the Best Actress of the Year four times and was recognized by the Polish government with the Gold Gloria Artist medal for cultural achievements (Medal Zasłużony Kulturze Gloria Artis, 2008). In 1999, she was asked to make an imprint of her palm at the Promenade of Stars in Międzyzdroje, Poland.

The awards continued in this decade: Złota  Sowa  Polonii  (Polonia’s Golden Owl) for her film roles (2015),  Diamentowe  Lwy (Diamond Lions) for the best female role as Barbara  Niechcic  in the film  Nights and Days, at the 40th  Polish Film Festival in Gdynia (2015); and the title of the Mistrzyni Mowy  Polskiej  Vox  Populi (Mistress of the Polish Language - Popular Vote) bestowed in 2016.  In 2018, the film Night and Days (Noce i Dnie) has been voted the best Polish film of the past 100 years, by audiences in Poland. Dolnośląskie Centrum Filmowe:

At the December 15 event, Ms. Baranska not only graciously accepted the Modjeska Prize, but also made a personal donation (with her husband, famous film director Jerzy Antczak) to further the cause of promotion of Polish culture in Los Angeles.

Established in 2010, the Modjeska Prize honors the most eminent Polish actors and commemorates the patron of the Modjeska Club, actress Helena Modrzejewska (Modjeska, 1840-1909). Previous Modjeska Prize recipients include Jan Nowicki, Barbara Krafftówna and Anna Dymna.

The Award Presentation took place during the Annual Christmas Carols Party of the Club that also featured world-famous soprano Teresa Kubiak accompanied by equally famous pianist Wojciech Kocyan in a mini-recital of Christmas Carols, a holiday potluck of Polish cuisine and a sing-along of Polish carols.The event also included presentation of the newest members of the Modjeska Club admitted in the  previous six months, including actresses Aleksandra Kaniak and Katarzyna Smiechowicz Leconte with Dominik, pianist Wojciech Kocyan, publicists Syl Ves, Urszula Jaskolka Beaudoin, and young Polonia representatives Jolanta Budny, Marcin and Agnieszka Depinski, Sylwia Wilk, Bart Wojtyla and Izabella Lowtrip.

L to R: New Members with the President: Syl Wes, Urszula Jaskolka Beaudoin, Jolanta Budny, Wojciech Kocyan, Aleksandra Kaniak,Maja Trochimczyk, Katarzyna Smiechowicz, Agnieszka Depinska, Marcin Depinski with Adam, Sylwia Wilk and Izabella Lowtrip. 

Wojciech Kocyan and Teresa Kubiak perform carols.

Malgorzata Schulz, Maja Trochimczyk, singers Katarzyna Sadej and Teresa Kubiak

Best wishes for a healthy  and peaceful holiday season, and have a Happy New Year! 

From the Board of Directors of the Modjeska Club

L to R: Witold Sokolowski, Elzbieta Trybus, Ela Przybyla, Wanda Presburger, 
Consul Jaroslaw Lasinski, Ewa Barsam, Maja Trochimczyk, Chris Justin