Jagoda Przybylak’s farewell took place on Thursday, February 1st on her 95th birthday, at the Polish-Slavic Center

Farewell to Jagoda Przybylak

A group of close friends and acquaintances said goodbye to Jagoda Przybylak at a touching evening organized by Kurier Plus at the Polish-Slavic Center on Thursday, February 1, on what would have been her 95th birthday. Jagoda died on December 28, 2023. Jagoda lived in Greenpoint for the last 42 years and was an active participant in the local cultural life, exhibiting her works and curating several photography exhibitions.
Jagoda was a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology, a valued photographic artist, a representative of conceptual and experimental photography, and a long-time lecturer of photography at the New York Institute of Technology. Jagoda met many outstanding people along her journey. The famous photographer Zbigniew Dłubak was the one who directed her towards conceptual photography. Then she collaborated with Janusz Bąkowski and Krzysztof Wodiczko. After the war, she managed to find a studio in the attic of a tenement house on Piwna Street in Warsaw’s Old Town. People of art met there to discuss and exchange views. She was fascinated by old group photos, which she studied in detail, divided into elements and enlarged. She often arranged photos in long sequences, creating stories out of them. She also invented a technique combining photography with painting. Usually, the background in a given photo is painted over to show the subject in a more expressive and much stronger way to the viewer.
According to her, color photography is often too full of unnecessary details and it distracts from its in-depth reading. After arriving in the USA, she also gathered a group of people interested in art who came to listen to her interesting stories. She gathered around her people of various professions, but always fascinated by her personality. People flocked to her. We drew on her knowledge.
A lot of people, friends and acquaintances, came to the meeting at Kurier Plus. The guests were welcomed by the Editor-in-Chief of Kurier Plus, Zofia Doktorowicz-Kłopotowska, introducing the figure of Jagoda Przybylak. First, her so-called daughters, Urszula Pakentreger-Adamska, a lawyer, and Beata Szpura, a painter and illustrator, lecturer at Parsons the New School for Design and Queensborough Community College, talked about her friendship, then her dear friend, Jola Fryszkowski-Brosch, publicist, theater director Andrzej Dąbrowski, architect Kenneth Hudes and art historian Sherry Buckberrough. Outstanding personalities from the world of art came to say goodbye.

Krzysztof Wodiczko, a world-famous visual artist, famous for his large-scale slide and video projections on architectural facades and monuments around the world, lecturer at prestigious universities. He talked about his long-time friendship with Jagoda and her unforgettable art.
Marek Bartelik – a well-known and respected art critic and historian, doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, lecturer at prestigious universities such as The Cooper Union, former chairman of the American Section of Art Critics (AICA – Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art) and vice-president of AICA International, author of many art publications.
Krzysztof Zarębski, one of the first performance artists in Poland, painter, author of scenography. He has lived in New York since 1981 and works artistically here.
Krystyna Jachniewicz – Zarębska – painter and illustrator.
Mieczysław Mietko Rudek – artist, collector of works of art.
It’s good that the Jagoda Przybylak studio in Warsaw is still in operation, under the care of Jerzy Dobrzański, a sculptor who organizes exhibitions, concerts and meetings with students there.
On February 16, Jagoda Przybylak’s “Networks” Retrospective Exhibition will take place. (Referring to her first exhibition “100 times the grid”). Dariusz Kanarek, present at Jagoda’s farewell in New York, the new president of the Polish American Photography Club, photographer and filmmaker, will be at this exhibition, so we are counting on a report.
Jagoda Przybylak took photos almost to the end, recently her own hands and those of her friends.
Igor Wieczorkowski, CPS Financial Director, and Zbigniew Solarz, CPS Treasurer, and his wife Katarzyna were present at the meeting.
The exhibition of Jagoda’s works was prepared by: Janusz Skowron – painter, graphic designer, illustrator, cartoonist, photographer, exhibition curator – films from Jagoda’s exhibitions in New York, Jerzy Dobrzański film from the Phenomena exhibition in Rzeszów, Jerzy Stypułkowski and Zosia Zeleska-Bobrowski, photographer, slides from life and Jagoda’s works, Beata Szpura and Zosia Zeleska–Bobrowski presented a mini exhibition of Jagoda.
Jagoda Przybylak will be buried on February 15 in Warsaw at the Bródno Cemetery in the family tomb.

Text: Zosia Zeleska-Bobrowski

Photos – Dariusz Kanarek


Photo – Anna Skowron

Other photos: Zosia Zeleska-Bobrowski