Włodzimierz Czerw – born in 1937 in Chełmek near Oświęcim, died in 1993 in the same place. A self-taught painter, by trade he was a gardener. He drew his knowledge of painting from literature. He belonged to the Workers’ Association of Culture Creators, and took part in many open-air exhibitions and revues of so-called non-professional art.


Milk of freedom,1984
Progressive nativity scene, 1983
Nativity scene absolved, 1981
Promising nativity scene, 1983
Crisis nativity scene, 1983
National unification, 1983
oil on canvas
from the collection of the Muzeum Śląskie

Czerw was an extreme individualist in conflict with the system, who worked out his own aesthetic and ideological programme, reflecting a deeply held belief in a worldwide, timeless battle between good and evil. He obsessively and mercilessly aimed to unmask every system, be it economic and political, philosophical, ethical and religious. In the highly-polarised times of the 1980s, he shared neither the position of the government nor the opposition, nor the leftist sympathising third option, and in this sense remained a completely independent artist. His multi-faceted compositions combine elements of ancient allegorical painting of the school of Hieronymus Bosch with a pop-art, comic, or even camp aesthetic.