Frederick Abrams

The Underground Cathedral

Samoobsluga (Self Service)

I have heard it said several times by Poles who had lived abroad during the
painful ’80s era of Martial Law and returned to their homeland during the
’90s, that they found the spirits of their own people changed beyond
recognition. This logically follows the fact that in so many ways daily life had become radically transformed, certainly economically.

Back at the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, one would often have to
stand in line to purchase a roll of toilet paper. Only over a decade later Poland is becoming a hypermarket haven. It took nearly 70 years to complete the first and only line of the Warsaw Metro, but amazingly, while still far more poor than the industrialized Western countries, Poland is now the seventh leading nation in the world in car sales. Likewise, whereas old communist values and habits in a dominantly Catholic society are in a constant tension of selling out to those of the far more liberalized material world, Samoogsluga attempts to make a sentimental yet wry commentary on what has come of the land of Solidarnosc (Solidarity).

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