Krystyna Piotrowska / Angel at the Border

The inscription on Brama Krakowska is a quotation from the New Testament. Placed above the entrance to the oldest, historical part of the city, it draws one’s attention to the message which instructed the believers at the dawn of Christianity to help others.

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” 

(Hebrews 13:2)

Do not forget to show hospitality!  – the author of the letter tells the Hebrews. The message, important after a couple of dozens of years after Christ’s birth, has not lost its weight now. According to the New Testament, every person in need is an incarnation of God:

“Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”

 (Matthew 25:40). 

The Christian God rewards mercy and punishes refusal to help a fellow human. Today, the criteria of reward or punishment are not that important. Moreover, it is not only religion that tells us how to act morally. Receiving and hosting “the other” should constitute one of the fundamental principles of our conduct. Piotr Laszkiewicz writes:

Real hospitality is voluntary, unforced, not focused on profit and not stemming from a sense of guilt, generous, ready to take responsibility and bear possible costs. Hospitality is open, welcoming to the community, does not know “second rate” people – the logic of locked-out strongholds, ghettos, castes and mutual admiration societies is alien to it”.

In practice, it is one of the most challenging and demanding ways to face our own humanity. When meeting “the other”, we must overcome our fear and mistrust, give up our egoism, not expecting any reward for the help we have offered. Let’s be ready!

The angels from the letter to the Hebrews are leaving their homelands ravished by wars and poverty. They are waiting at the border…


Krystyna Piotrowska, born in 1949 in Zabrze. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, at the Faculty of Interior Design (1966-1972), at the State Higher School of Fine Arts in Poznań, at the Faculty of Painting and Graphic Arts (1972-1975), and Grafikskolan Forum in Malmö (1985-1990).

She combines photography, graphic techniques and painting in her works, as well as creates installation and video pieces. Her artistic practice focuses on the themes of identification and memory.

In 2006-2012, she created and curated the exhibition Projekt Próżnia / Project Vacuum. In 2014, she curated the exhibition Adoracja słodyczy / Adoration of Sweetness at Zachęta, and in 2017, the exhibition Złe kobiety / Bad Women at the Zamek Culture Centre in Poznań. She ran graphic art workshops as part of the Summer Academy of Art in Salzburg several times. Her works are in the collections of the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art, the Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Toruń, the National Museums in Warsaw, Poznań, and Wrocław; the Museum of Art in Łódź, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and the Museum of Modern Art in Sapporo, among others.