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Painted Polish village

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This is Danuta Dymon from Zalipie village in southeastern Poland. She invites us on an excursion of her unusual home. Everything here is painted with flowers – house walls, dog booth, even stones and bare tree trunks. It seems there is no empty space left in the house and outside, which Danuta Dymon hasn’t covered with painting. The fabulous flowers blossom even on a plastic electric kettle.

Danuta Dymon, painter:
"Painting is extemely pleasant for me. I can leave cooking and not pay much attention to my husband, because of this passion and desire to draw. I can’t sleep at night if I feel something is going wrong with my picture."

Danuta was never taught how to draw and was not that interested in it. She was a farmer. But then she suffered a stroke in her seventy’s. She drew her first flower during recovery.

Danuta Dymon, painter:
"My brain started working better. Everyone can keep calm and relax drawing something beautiful. This makes me feel as in heaven."

Zalipie can be seen as a massive painting, colorful, vivid, and historical. The whole village is flooded with flowers from every building, bridge, fountain to dog houses and chicken coops.

The tradition of painting took roots in the beginning of 19th century. According to the legend, women tried to hide the smoke traces around the chimney’s hole in the ceiling of the house. They painted over spots of soot with whitewash. Felicia Kurylowa became the first women, who started covering it with colourful decorations based on traditional embroidery.
(video can be taken from the museum, director shows us this spot)

Wanda Racia, the director of Felicia Kurylowa museum:
"She had to stand on the chair, raised her hands up, took paint and drew without any template. There were roses, poppies, forget-me-nots and sunflowers typical for Zalipie. This is the traditional style of painting – bright and expressive colours."

The museum director says Felicia Kurylowa was an example to follow. The local women started covering everything in the village with flowers. They had no access to professional equipment. Women made the brushes with the tail hair of the local cows and horses.

Wanda Racia, the director of Felicia Kurylowa museum: "Of course many horses were left hairless, but not all."

Since 1948 the Painted Cottage competition – Malowana Chata – has been held in Zalipie every year. Its introduction was a part of the movement to help country psychologically recover from the horrors of the Second World War. Every spring women wipe-off old pictures and then cover houses with new decorations. The village has its own school of painting. Its citizens dream to make Zalipie an open-air museum.

Painting for them is a kind of art therapy and entertainment. In winter all these colours brighten up the landscape. .
Margaryta Sytnik, Igor Antoniuk reporting from Poland for Ukraine Today.

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