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Do You Miss Your Country?

Past Event

Na emigracji. (On Emigration) – an online comic by Polish visual artist Monika Szydłowska – started out on Facebook, where it now has almost 13,000 fans. It shows the life of a Polish immigrant in the UK through the medium of minimalist watercolours accompanied by a few well-chosen words. Despite their simplicity, they evoke a whole spectrum of the immigrant experience: difficulties in translating humour, trying to explain your cuisine to uncomprehending locals, confusion over pronunciation, casual prejudice and family conversations via Skype. It offers understated, funny commentary on straddling two cultures.

Centrala, a publishing house specialising in comics, is launching Do You Miss Your Country?, a collection of Monika’s art in book form. Come and listen to Monika talk to Sarah Lightman, an artist, writer and curator, and co-founder and co-director of the Laydeez do comics collective. Then stay on to raise a glass to the book, see Monika’s art on Free Word’s walls and maybe – if you’re lucky – witness some live painting.

Supported by the Polish Cultural Institute in London.

Free Word’s Translator in Residence programme 2015-16 is supported by the Jan Michalski Foundation.


Sarah Lightman studied at the Slade School of Art for her BA and MFA, and is currently a PhD researcher at the University of Glasgow on “Dressing Eve and other Reparative Acts in Women’s Comics”. Sarah is co-founder and co-director, with Nicola Streeten, of Laydeez do Comics. She co-curated the internationally touring exhibition Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women, and edited Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews (McFarland), the first book on Jewish women and comics. Sarah exhibits her drawings and animation films in museums and galleries around the world, and her visual autobiography, The Book of Sarah (Myriad Editions), will be published in 2018.

Monika Szydłowska graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Poznań in 2011 with an MA in graphic design. In 2013, she moved to Scotland, where she completed a course in art therapy and where she leads art workshops with disabled people. In October 2013, Monika started the blog Na emigracji., a series of illustrations depicting the adventures she’s had since leaving Poland. In winter 2015, the publishing house Centrala published Do You Miss Your Country?, a collection of the illustrations.

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