Pandemic? Crisis! A new international contest. The verdict

1st Prize: Łukasz...
2nd Prize:...
3rd Prize: Marek...
Kamil Barszczewski...
Marek Osman (stand...
Przemysław Paliwoda...
Tomasz Stachura...
Jakub Wójtowicz...
The Verdict of the "PANDEMIC? CRISIS!" Poster Design Contest organized by Centrum Kultury i Sztuki im. Ady Sari (Ada Sari Culture and Art Centre) in Stary Sącz| Galeria Sztuki Współczesnej IMO (IMO Contemporary Art Gallery) in cooperation with the co-organizer, Starosądecka Fundacja Kultury (Stary Sącz Culture Foundation).
The Partners of the Competition were: Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie (the Poster Museum at Wilanów), Stowarzyszenie Twórców Grafiki Użytkowej (The Association of Graphic Designers), Akademia Sztuk Pięknych (ASP) im. Jana Matejki w Krakowie (Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków), Galeria Plakatu Kraków (Cracow Poster Gallery), Dydo Poster Gallery, blog o sztuce Minerva (Minerva blog on arts) and the Kultura w Kwarantannie (the Culture in Quarantine) initiative.
Prominent experts in the art of the poster were invited to participate in the work of the competition committee: 
Krzysztof Dydo – collector and expert,
Mariusz Knorowski – art historian and art critic, chief-curator of Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie (Poster Museum at Wilanów),
Wojciech Kwaśniewski – artist and educator, Head of the ASP Poster Design Studio,
the Organizer was represented by Małgorzata Kaczmarska – visual artist and the artistic director of the IMO Gallery.
The subject of the Competition was the crisis caused by the pandemic. We expected bold graphic works that would comment on the cultural and artistic sector situation, but also, on the situation of all the individuals facing the reality of the restrictions which have been introduced and of the prolonged isolation.
We do appreciate the number of works submitted to the Competition (1190), not only from Poland but also from dozen or so other countries from different continents. The subject of the Competition is global in its nature and oppressive in its character, which was reflected in the works submitted. The Competition Jury was satisfied to note the very diverse view of the pandemic landscape. Also, it observed the clarity and the power of the message of most of the submitted works, the conciseness of the approach, and the diversity of the means of expression used, this including the works in which typography was used as an element of the artistic and anecdotal creation.
Most of the awarded works are formally synthetic and essentially concise in the way they point and define the pandemic situation with its implications and influence on different aspects of life: culture, education, economic repercussions, and finally, an individual's mental condition and severing social ties.
It should be emphasized that a large number of the posters that didn’t make it to the strict finale of the Competition represented high substantive and artistic level. They are true to the ideological premises of the Competition, they refer to the proposed competition subject in a perceptive, analytical way and – what’s equally valuable – they are based on an emotional tone. These works were recommended by the Jury members to be presented at the Galeria Sztuki Współczesnej IMO (IMO Contemporary Art Gallery) exhibition in Stary Sącz. According to the Competition Statute, the Competition Organizer is responsible for the final decision. The Organizer declares that the works selected for the exhibition will be successively published through IMO Gallery’s social media (Facebook, Instagram), and their authors will receive invitations to participate in the exhibition by e-mail, within two months from the date of publishing this decision.
AWARDS. The Competition Committee chose the following winners of the Competition:
1st Prize: Łukasz Zwolan, "Theatre before | Theatre after"
For the monumental sign that is expressly associated with a lid of a coffin and depicts the situation of the theater during the pandemic. The subtly marked line of symmetry between the situations before and after can be associated – in a universal sense – with the dramatic dilemma of Hamlet ("To be or not to be"). In a more literal interpretation, it illustrates the plight of the theater in the situation when everything is closed, and the theatres are deprived of their audience. The audience is an inextricable element of the theater phenomenon which assumes that the presence of the audience is a necessary condition for genuine acting.
2nd Prize: Katarzyna Nachman, "Please feed the artists"
For a touching visual staging with a plead for supporting artists who, in the present situation, require special care and attention from the audience. Appealing to the stereotype of the artist as a butterfly or a goldbrick (symbolized by the beret) is moving but also sympathetic in this case. If we want to enjoy their presence and listen to them sing, we should help them in every possible way, which is also a gesture of solidarity.
3rd Prize: Marek Maciejczyk, "Hopelessness"
For an interesting visual idea making use of the color palette theme – a multi-colored rainbow reduced to a monochromatic version. Thus, the positive poetics of hope associated with this natural phenomenon and the expression of color, turns into a gloomy sign depicting the grayness everyday life, which does not herald a change for the better.
STAND OUT PARTICIPANTS. The Competition Committee chose 7 stand out graphic designs, and their authors are:
Kamil Barszczewski
Karolina Boruszewska
Marek Osman
Przemysław Paliwoda
Martyna Sarna-Wojdyła
Tomasz Stachura
Jakub Wójtowicz
Krzysztof Dydo, Mariusz Knorowski, Wojciech Kwaśniewski, Małgorzata Kaczmarska
The Jury deliberations consisted of many stages, and the final verdict was made during the on-line session on April 7th, 2021.