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The Polish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Witold Sobków, was one of a number of guests at the opening of a Joseph Conrad exhibition hosted by the Polish Social & Cultural Association (POSK) in Hammersmith, London.
Launched on Sunday 25 November 2012 as part of the Polish Library's 70-year anniversary celebrations, the event was also attended by POSK chair Joanna Młudzińska; Dr Dobrosława Platt, the exhibition's organisor and curator; and The Joseph Conrad Society's Hugh Epstein.
Following the official opening, Robert Hampson, the University of London's Professor of Modern Literature, gave a talk about Conrad’s Polish roots and the cosmopolitan nature of his writing in POSK's ground floor gallery.
A joint venture of the Polish Library, the Joseph Conrad Society, and the Canterbury Heritage Museum, the exhibition displays never-before-seen artefacts, letters and photographs belonging to the author – whose Heart of Darkness novella was famously adapted by director Francis Ford Coppolla into Apocalypse Now, a critically acclaimed film starring Marlon Brando that won the 1979 Palme d'Or.
Entrance to the exhibition is free, which runs until 20 December 2012. Visitors are welcome to visit at any time during The Gallery's opening hours of 10am-8pm.
“It's a great pleasure to be meeting here today, in what are extraordinary circumstances, at POSK's gallery – all thanks to the cooperation of the Polish Library, Joseph Conrad Society and the Canterbury Heritage Museum,” Joanna Młudzińska said.
“These three organisations have for the the first time created something on this scale. I am honoured and proud - and also thankful for the patronage of this event by Poland's ambassador.”
In 1985 the Canterbury Heritage Museum was entrusted with a unique collection of relics and personal possessions of Conrad and his family. It is these items which are being shown for the first time in London.
The Polish Library in London is a research library specializing in the collection of Polonica, especially Polish émigré publications of all kinds: books, periodicals and newspapers as well as archives, manuscripts and photographs. It was founded in 1942 by the Polish government-in-exile and has belonged to POSK since 1967.
The Joseph Conrad Society (U.K.) was launched in 1973 with Polish support, and found a permanent home with the Polish Library, under the auspices of the POSK. Nearly forty years of collaboration has enriched both of the library collections housed under one roof.
The organisers are also grateful to Poland's Ministry of Culture and National Heritage for its sponsorship of this event.