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Andrzej Staśkiewicz

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A man of Kurpie – 100% of an artist

The yard of Andrzej Staśkiewicz’s house is filled with a large supply of wood, waiting patiently for the artist to create something out of it, whether it is going to be a small or a large form. Every single sculpture of his is made with the greatest attention to detail and fully individual. However, Mr Staśkiewicz is not only a sculptor – he builds musical instruments as well – lyres, pipes and a so-called Devil’s fiddle. He built his first lyre in 2007 after he had a dream about it. He is also a musician, and at the same time a great local patriot.

Andrzej, a native Kurpian man and the son of a recognised artist, Marianna Staśkiewicz, from whom he inherited his artistic skills. Just like his mother, he learnt everything on his own. He has been dealing with folk crafts and arts since 2000. The figures of Jesus Christ and the saints are his favourite artistic theme. Among his most beautiful sculptures there are the Pensive Christ, the Passion, the Madonnas, Saint John of Nepomuk and angels. He also creates non-religious pieces, depicting the Kurpian people, puppets, animals, birds and flowers. Mr Staśkiewicz specialises both in large-scale outdoor sculptures and in smaller forms – from small owls, up to large shrines, created from old logs, with the figure of Pensive Christ or the “great” people of Kurpie. He is a renowned master of all forms. He emphasises that his works are always individual, while in creations of other sculptors one may observe a kind of industrial approach to their work, and their work is more of a craft than art.

In contrast, every single work of his is individual and has unique character. Those, who are interested may commission a sculpture or a musical instrument. Mr Staśkiewicz offers folk fiddle, hurdy-gurdy, ligawka horns, drums, Devil’s fiddle, percussion instruments and simple flutes and pipes. And it is worth paying particular attention to those instruments – they were awarded numerous distinctions, bought by museums for exhibitions, and presented many times during various events, in schools, cultural centres and in media, such as the Teleexpress programme, national and local newspapers, as well as by radio stations.

In addition to creating sculptures and instruments, Mr Staśkiewicz is a violinist in “Kurpiowska Kapela” [Kurpian Band]. The band was founded in 2013. Ryszard Maniurski, who plays pedal harmony, is the head of the band, and Paweł Majewski plays the drums. They are occasionally accompanied by Apolonia Nowak. They gather so they can play together, in order to “lighten up their souls”, but sometimes they can be heard at various events, fairs and even in shopping malls.

Andrzej Staśkiewicz strongly regrets the increase in popularity and mass production of popular music, such as disco polo. In his opinion, it reduces interest in authentic folk music. However, he hopes that the music will survive thanks to the people from “the city”, who are fascinated by the folk culture and come to the countryside, organise and enjoy numerous events, at the same time learning from the best folk artists. That’s where his theory that “the folk tradition will survive in the cities and will be brought back to the villages” comes from.

Mr Staśkiewicz not only participates in artistic events organised in the Kurpie region (Kadzidło, Myszyniec, Ostrołęka), but also travels outside of the region. A meeting with him always ends up being an exceptional event – he always has a kind word, plays his lyre or violin, always has some stories to tell. Every topic is great to start a spontaneous, lively conversation, but the best are those that the artist holds dear: Kurpie region, music, sculpting. One can spend hours talking with him and still feel that it’s not enough.

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07-420 Kadzidło
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