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Belchatow's Murals

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

The diverse communities found in the case study regions lie at the heart of the DUST project. The distinct characters, histories and potential futures of places involved in the project demonstrate a unity found not in uniformity, but in a shared celebration of unique identity. As we seek to learn more about our 8 case study regions, we discover what makes these locations special – how people have built a place over time and what that place represents for them. We look for distinct forms of expression, where residents display their character and desired future through a range of different modes.

In Belchatow, Poland one visible form of expression is the many murals that can be found painted on the sides of buildings. Though these murals are made by independent artists, they display the character and vision of local communities through their style and portrayals. Recurring themes found in depictions give some indication of the nature of place and the aspects that residents see as important for the future of their communities. The following photos show murals found in Belchatow and neighbouring cities such as Lodz.

In many of the murals found in Belchatow and surrounds, depictions of the interactions of human and nature are common, as in the photo above. This reflects that which is often found in the area; a wilderness adorned with human constructs that wind their way through forests and plains. This is no more starkly seen than in the extensive energy infrastructure found across the region. Two lifelines for human life in Poland intertwine. The connection of local communities is shown in many murals, where people are seen to be tending to and prospering from the land that supports them.

As in the photo above, young people are frequently shown in murals, perhaps a reflection of the artists themselves, as well as a highlighting of the perception of youth in looking into the future and seeking originality in a changing identity. The murals challenge the viewer to dream, perhaps reflecting a desire for young people in Belchatow to form a different future for themselves.

Many of the Murals found in Belchatow and in neighbouring cities, such as Lodz, depict scenes of life and hope. They often contain in them illustrations of movement, where a static building is drawn into the motion of life, perhaps portraying aspiring forces of change. The photo above shows this movement, portraying an energy overlayed on existing structures.

In these paintings, we see reflected the autonomy, ownership and investment of local communities in their space. Not only do these murals give an insight into the distinct characters of the case study regions, but they also reveal how residents see themselves and their homes. By understanding these forms of expression and seeking out the narratives that guide them, the opinions and desires of local people can be brought into policy debates, to support co-creative development that works for the people.


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