Danusia x Puspa (2020)

Tempera, oil, and casein on wood; and tracing paper, pigment, and rice pasteDimensions variable

Danusia x Puspa is inspired by an imaginary meeting between two women—Danusia and Puspa—characters 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 in present-day Poland.

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.

Just as Danusia and Puspa never met each other in person, they represent our inability to completely see and understand each other. There is always something in us, in the other person, which remains obscure and opaque.

Standing in the middle of the folding screen, the viewer is unable to fully see the face of a person who stands on the other side. Yet, through the frames on the sides, they can see both the sun and the moon, the way all of us on earth, across centuries see the very same sun and the moon. These celestial bodies, though appearing as partial, distorted forms, reflect on us sharing one common existence on earth.

Exhibited at MFA exhibition The Third Room (2020), Galeria Neon, Wrocław.

Photos: Alperen Şahin