We are happy to inform you about the results of the 2nd edition of the Chris Schwarz Memorial Award – “A Safe Space”.

On January 12th, 2023, the final stage of the contest took place at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland. In the finale, works of five artists were discussed, who were chosen in the first stage of the contest:

  • Anna Bas / Joanna Zemanek / Grzegorz Sztwiertnia (collective)
  • Xawery Deskur
  • Dorota Nieznalska
  • Mira Mańka / Anna Rogóż (collective)
  • Aleksandra Przybysz

During the finale, all artists met with the Jury of the contest and presented their artwork mockups.

The Jury was composed of:

  • Bogdan Achimescu
  • Edyta Gawron
  • Roma Sendyka
  • Tomasz Strug
  • Hannele Tilles

After a long debate, the Jury decided to award the main prize in the competition to Mr. Xawery Deskur.

The awarded artwork titled “A Place of Singing Rocks” refers to the contest concept of “A Safe Place” in an original and surprising way.

The Jury also decided to award two honorable mentions:

  • An honorable mention to Ms. Dorota Nieznalska for her work “Inferno”.
  • An honorable mention for the collective created by Ms. Anna Bas, Ms. Joanna Zemanek, and Mr. Grzegorz Sztwiertnia for their work “Homines Viatores”.

The jury would like to draw attention to the high artistic and substantive level of all the final proposals. We would like to thank all the finalists for their commitment and time devoted to preparing mockups and final presentations. Meetings and discussions with you were a valuable and very inspiring experience.

The awarded work will be presented at the Galicia Jewish Museum from June to September 2023 as part of a post-contest exhibition. The exhibition will also present mockups of all works from the final stage of the competition.

We would like to congratulate the winner of the competition and all finalists.

The Chris Schwarz Memorial Award is organized thanks to the support of the Mirisch and Lebenheim Foundation.


The aim of the Chris Schwarz Memorial Art Award is to promote and develop contemporary art as well as to open a space for dialogue on Polish-Jewish history and relations. The competition is open to professional visual artists, holders of a master’s degree in fine arts and students in their final year of their MFA who are Polish citizens or permanent residents of Poland.

The Competition is held triennially, with the individual editions devoted to different themes. The Competition Jury plans to award a cash prize of 20,000 PLN to the winning project, as well as funding its production and presentation as part of an exhibition organized by the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków.

Chris Schwarz was a British photographer and the founder and first director of the Galicia Jewish Museum. His intellectual courage, willingness to ask difficult questions and efforts to find the answers behind them brought together multitudes of people from different backgrounds and showed them new ways to understand Polish-Jewish history. Chris died prematurely in 2007, but the Museum continues his mission to this day.



Over the years, we have presented dozens of exhibitions and told countless stories of specific individuals, families, and entire communities. The starting point for many of these was the tragic events of the 20th century – wars, genocide, famine, shifting waves of refugees. In many of them, a common denominator emerged: the search for a safe place. A place where we can feel safe, a refuge from the realities we can’t control.

Such a place can take many forms. It could be a hiding place in the attic or under the floorboards of the house in which we once lived. It could be another country, “the promised land” in the east or west, that can only be reached after a long and exhausting journey, abandoning our previous lives. It could be vast, huge like an entire continent or small. It could simply be a corner where we could have privacy and freedom. It could be a real place, such as a family home visited after decades of absence, or imaginary, like an office to work in better times “when it’s all over”. It could be a specific place on the map, an address we know, or one pointed out to us by a kind person, or one found quite by accident. It could also have no specific concrete form at all, but rather be a state of mind.

As we prepare new exhibitions for the museum, we have increasingly realized that the stories we tell do not only belong to the past, but are reflected in contemporary events, and do not require only reflection on what took place but also a reaction to what is happening now. In the context of successive political upheavals, a global migration crisis, economic uncertainty, the unprecedented scale of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing, brutal war in Ukraine, it is easy to see why the old Chinese saying “may you live in interesting times” is more of a curse than a blessing.



The idea of a safe place, a sanctuary, a refuge – something we took for granted until recently – is constantly questioned today. There are contradictory and sometimes confusing narratives on this subject but, ultimately, we all have the same basic needs and having a sure, safe place is – it would seem – a fundamental right for every human being.

That is why we decided to dedicate the second edition of the Chris Schwarz Memorial Competition to the idea of such a place – and such places. In announcing the second edition of the Chris Schwarz Memorial Art Award, we invite artists working in all mediums to tell us about such places – about their character, shape, structure, and about the opportunities and risks that accompany their exploration, construction and existence. Although the activities of the Galicia Jewish Museum are primarily devoted to Polish-Jewish history and culture, we do not want these to be the only inspiration for the works submitted to the competition. Because the phrase “a safe place” can be interpreted in so many ways, the theme of the competition is universal and meant to encourage deeper reflection and creative reworkings of its various meanings in historical and contemporary contexts.