Danusia and Puspa (2019)

Casein, wax, tempera, and oil on papier-mâché28 x 25 x 36 cm

This vessel commemorates an encounter between two women—Danusia and Puspa—who feature in modern retellings of 14th and 15th century tales and history.

Danusia was originally depicted in Henryk Sienkiewicz’s 1900 novel Krzyżacy (The Knights of the Cross) and in Aleksander Ford’s film of the same name in 1960, both of which were based on the 1410 Battle of Grunwald.

Puspa appears in Omar Rojik's 1962 film Singapura Dilanggar Todak (Swordfish Attack on Singapore), which revisits a legendary tale of a young boy who saves Temasek, now called Singapore, from attack by ferocious swordfish.

The work appropriates the spout of a kendi, a pouring vessel used in classical Southeast Asia, and the base of medieval vessels found in Germany and Poland.

Two figures, Danusia and Puspa, sit side by side, yet are unable to see each other across the curved surface, pointing to the imaginary nature of this encounter. Their bodies, though separate, evoke a sense of commonality and oneness. Behind them, a mythical creature appears, with the fish tail and the horse evoking the associations of the Swordfish Attack on Singapore and the Battle of Grunwald.

Featured in the 2020 Calendar by the Kaleidoscope of Cultures in Wrocław, Poland.