Sławiński’s ECMC Mural Celebrating Buffalo Polonia’s First 100 Years

Presenter:  Dr. Peter Gessner

The Polonia mural that graces the entrance lobby of the Erie County Medical Center is one of Jȯzef Sławiński's most iconic works. Commissioned by Erie County in celebration of Buffalo's Polonia centennial, it is primarily a collection of portraits or representations of individuals who contributed materially to its development. Sławiński created it using his favourite technique, that of the four layer sgraffito which involved laying down sequentially four 1/4" layers of cement on the wall, the first black, the next one red, then a yellow one and finally a white one. Then, while the cement was wet, removing the topmost layers thereby creating a design. Sławiński is the only artist in the U.S. who has created murals using this labor intensive technique - originally Etruscan. With but just a small handful of exceptions, all of his murals are located in Buffalo/Niagara. Dr. Gessner will identify, in so far as his research had made this possible, the identity of the represented individuals and their contributions to the development of Polonia. He will also trace the history of the mural and his efforts to prevent it being removed from its current location. He will also speak of his efforts to bring about the creation of a Sławiński Art Trail in Buffalo/Niagara that would help visitors admiring Sławiński's art visit the 15 location in our area where Sławiński murals exist and can be viewed. It's an artistic legacy of Polonia that the community might easily lose through inattention and inaction. The loss would be tragic.


Admission is free for members and a $5 donation is requested of non-members.

Sunday, February 23, 2014
Erie County Medical Center, 462 Grider St., Buffalo, NY 2PM Staff Dining Room (2nd floor)