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    The Oskar Kolberg Award ‘For Merit to Folk Culture’

    On 2 July 2023, at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the Oskar Kolberg Award Ceremony ‘For Merits to Folk Culture’ was held for the 48th time. This prestigious award, granted by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, honours outstanding representatives of the traditional culture community.

    The live broadcast of the event was available on the National Institute of Music and Dance’s YouTube channel and the website www.nagrodakolberg.pl. The audiovisual recording is also accessible after the ceremony.

    The Oskar Kolberg Award 'For Merit to Folk Culture' is the oldest and most important award in the field of folk culture in Poland. The award was established in 1974 in Mazovia, by the creators of the Płock socio-cultural magazine Barwy (Colours). From the very beginning, the award has been granted for lifetime achievements, honouring the most outstanding artists, researchers and promotors of folk culture, active in different ethnographic regions and fields of creation. Following several dozen of annual editions, the Oskar Kolberg Award is recognised as a benchmark of the most outstanding achievements in the field of folk culture. At the same time, the award functions as a form of institution that supports and promotes the development of Polish folk art and the activities that support folk culture in Poland and abroad.

    On the same day, at 6:00 PM, the Laureates’ Concert with a traditional dance took place at the National Institute of Culture and Heritage of the Countryside (Krakowskie Przedmieście 66), where the recipients showcased their repertoire.

    In May, outdoor sessions with the laureates were held in their native regions, showcasing the awardees and the results of their activities in authentic surroundings. The picturesque landscapes of Polish villages and towns provided an excellent backdrop for outdoor shots of the awarded artists. The footage and photographs were presented during the gala.

    The Oskar Kolberg Award, named after Oskar Kolberg – an ethnographer, folklorist, and composer – was established in 1974 and is awarded in seven categories: individual artistic creation (visual arts, folk literature, instrumental music, singing, dancing), master of tradition, bands, folkloric ensembles, research, documentation, animation, and dissemination of folk culture. Honorary distinctions are granted to institutions and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the development and popularization of Polish folk art and folklore.

    The laureates of the 48th edition of the Oskar Kolberg Award are as follows:

    Category I – creators in the field of visual arts and music-dance folklore:

    • Zofia Nędza-Kubiniec – a glass painter, embroiderer, folk costume performer, and poet, daughter of poet Stanisław Nędza-Kubiniec. Founder of the “Leśniki” ensemble. For many years, she led a folk theater and prepared highland Nativity plays. Activist of the Podhale Highlanders Association in Kościelisko (Kościelisko, Małopolskie Voivodeship, Podhale).
    • Ludgarda Sieńko – a weaver and a continuator of the two-warp weaving tradition. She has developed her own style characterized by interesting colors, asymmetrical composition, and ornamentation. She meticulously translates scenes from village life into the language of weaving (Janów, Podlaskie Voivodeship, Podlasie).
    • Jan Szymański – a soloist, instrumentalist, and violinist. His repertoire consists mainly of obereks, kujawiaks, kujons, and Łowicz polkas. He is a practitioner of the Łowicz tradition of playing the “baraban” during religious holidays (Albinów, Łódzkie Voivodeship, Łowicz Region).
    • Stanisław Wyżykowski – a maker of hurdy-gurdies, violinist, and builder of folk instruments. He has performed on many stages in Poland and abroad. His passion lies in instrument-making. He reconstructed the hurdy-gurdy in Poland, thus initiating the revival of this instrument in our country (Krosno, Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Pogórzanie).
    • Czesława Samsel – a lacemaker, creator of paper flowers, palms, and “kierce” (traditional decorative ornaments). She is also engaged in making ceremonial bread, such as “byśki” and “nowe latki.” She creates intricate embroideries and lacework, spinning on a distaff and spindle (Zalesie, Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Kurpie).

    Category II – Masters of Tradition:

    • Kazimierz Marcinek – one of the most prominent violinists of the older generation in the Rzeszów region. He led several bands but prefers to perform as a soloist. His style is characterized by virtuosic ornamentation (Nockowa, Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Rzeszów area).

    Category III – creators in folk literature:

    • Florianna Kiszczak – a poet and writer whose works predominantly focus on folk and religious culture. In her prose, she describes rural traditions, including rituals, as well as the realities of peasant life (Radzięcin, Lubelskie Voivodeship, Biłgoraj Land).

    Category IV – for researchers, scientists, and animators:

    • Wojciech Kowalczuk – an ethnographer and museum specialist. He is the author of numerous research and exhibition projects on the folk craft art of northeastern Poland. He specializes in research on traditional crafts (Białystok, Podlaskie Voivodeship, Podlasie).
    • Jadwiga Parecka – an animator of socio-cultural life, and author of numerous publications on music-dance folklore, customs, dialect, and culinary culture of the Bukovina Highlanders. She is the founder of the Watra, Czadecki Highlanders, and Mała Watra ensembles (Brzeźnica, Lubuskie Voivodeship, Bukovina Highlanders ethnic group).

    Category V – folk bands:

    • The Adamczyk Brothers Band (Szydłowiec, Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Szydłowiecka Land).

    Category VI – for folkloric ensembles:

    • The Singing Ensemble from Łukowa IV (Łukowa, Lubelskie Voivodeship, Biłgoraj Land).
    • The Song and Dance Ensemble “Łastiwoczka” from Przemków (Przemków, Dolnośląskie Voivodeship, Lower Silesia).

    Category VII – for institutions and organizations meritorious in popularizing folk culture:

    • The Association of Folk Musicians in Zbąszyń (Zbąszyń, Wielkopolskie Voivodeship, Lubusz Land).
    • The Oskar Kolberg Cultural Society in Przysucha (Przysucha, Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Przysucha Land).

    A special distinction for a student of a Master of Tradition was awarded to Lidia Biały, a violinist, and editor at Polskie Radio Rzeszów, and a student of Kazimierz Marcinek.

    All laureates received the Oskar Kolberg Medals designed by Anna Jarnuszkiewicz, as well as commemorative diplomas and financial prizes funded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and the Mazowieckie Voivodeship Local Government.

    The Oskar Kolberg Award for “Merits in Folk Culture” is the most prestigious distinction in the field of traditional culture in Poland. It was established in 1974 and is organized by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. The competition and gala are carried out in cooperation with the Radom Countryside Museum and its branch, the Oskar Kolberg Museum in Przysucha. The financial awards are sponsored by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and the Mazowieckie Voivodeship Local Government.

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