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Tomasz Szrama: Survival

I was born in 1970 in Poland the epicentre of an illusory communist paradise and raised in a tiny mountain village close to the Czech and German border that was not allowed to cross. I have lived through the Martial Law of 1981–1983, a deep economic crisis that led to the bankruptcy of my country and the disintegration of the totalitar system in 1989, as well as the Millennium Flood in 1997, which robbed me of all my possessions.

My mesmerizing looking flooded village has taught me to see the beauty of the tragic impermanent forms. Having nothing to go back to, I decided to settle on the edge of the world in the land of the thousand lakes.

Unable to express myself in any common language, I started developing my own performance practice as an alternative way of communication. The freedom, diversity of artistic expression, uniqueness, site-specificity and above all the direct contact between the artist and the audience are principles which guide me. Eventually meeting new people and increasing the involvement of the public became a goal even more important than the great need to be understood.

My art has never attracted the attention of local curators, but I have received tremendous support from the Finnish performance art community. After the long adaptation period in my new home and despite the fact that my art became significantly non-commercial, I have now been at the point where my career started to develop internationally.

The beginning of the pandemic, which so severely affected the entire society, ironically found me in China at an festival in Inner Mongolia.

Since then, all my projects have been put on hold.
I am not able to travel nor act in direct contact with the viewer.

The year 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of my arrival in Finland. This is exactly half my life.

All in all I have not lost hope. My aim is to find a way to communicate, interact.

I want to realise all of my challenging ideas and complete each of my difficult projects. I believe that with my artistic output, as well as the help of my friends, I will survive any system or further natural disasters. I am fascinated by how much our evanescent and portable nature allows us to unleash passion and courage.

So far I have survived, but I aspire to much more.

– Tomasz Szrama
February 2021

Tomasz Szrama is one of the artists of the New Performance Turku Festival 2021. Their work “Forward!” can be witnessed by the river Aura on Saturday September 4th, starting 3pm.