top of page

Tina Poplawski

Sleep, pretty darling do not cry (Mother & Child), 2013

Acrylic, botanical matter, jute, foam, Swarovski Crystals mounted on wood panel.

Diptych: each 39” x 75” x 6”

$9,500 CDN for both (Please inquire for shipping)

In Sleep Pretty Darling Do Not Cry (Mother) and (Child), Poplawski incorporates mosses, wood, ash and other botanical matter, Swarovski crystals and crocheted doilies of roughly hewn jute. The title comes out of the Beatle’s song, Golden Slumbers, and is also inspired by its other powerful lyric “Once there was a way to get back homeward.” The use of doilies in this body of work symbolizes the notion of discarded, anonymous feminine labour (such as knitting and crocheting) and how repetitive actions can ground the maker to the actions in her hands while allowing her a contemplative, almost mantric, form of meditation. According to Jungian psychology, such repetitive actions can have a balancing effect on the brain during times of crisis. Poplawski says, “I can imagine her pulling out her crochet hook, the small movements of her hand, repetitive and silent, creating these protective magic circles, while the small domestic world she knew and loved fell beneath the weight of powerful, monolithic, political ideologies.”

Poplawski’s use of Swarovski crystals (a man-made brilliant diamond-like glass crystal) and bits of glass imparts an improbable dream-like quality to the works. Given the fact that diamonds are created under the most extreme elemental pressures, the incorporation of Swarovski crystals here suggests the notion of cataclysmic transformation caused by human forces that take on a life of their own well beyond our control, reminiscent of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

For many years now, Tina Poplawski has explored and been inspired by events in her family’s history, placed in the greater context of world events. In particular, she has referenced the aftermath of her parents’ abduction by the Russians during World War II. At that time they were living in Poland and one night, while supposedly sleeping safely in their beds, the house was stormed and her grandmother, mother and other immediate family members were arrested and sent to the gulags in Siberia. After their release, they were housed in refugee camps in five countries and disparagingly labelled “DP’s” or displaced persons. Within Poplawski’s work, it hasn’t been so much the actual events themselves but the after-effects and ramifications within her family that have inspired her art making – unspoken traumas that were nevertheless passed down through the generations.

Curator Virginia Eichhorn writes about Popawski’s work in the exhibition Not Even The Poets: “Her works combine natural flotsam and jetsam from the woods and beach around her home with other materials to create pieces that could be read as reliquaries as well as evocations of protection of the animals and natural world she evokes. The compositions include things that other people would consider debris, along with imagery referencing Polish pottery and the crocheted doilies her grandmother made. The intention of using these artworks as a way of invoking magic and protective incantations is emphasized with her choice of titles, all of which are taken from W.B. Yeats’ powerful mystical poem, The Stolen Child. Here, “the world is full of weeping” and her wish to steal the “child” refers to her desire to heal the affects of the ravages and trauma that the loss of home – whether that of her family or that of nature’s – brings about.”

bottom of page