Temporary exhibition 2023

Ryszard Kaja ” Rysiek’s images from Silesia and Poland”

August 19 - December 31, 2023

Curator: Anna Kempa-Gąsior
Leszek Jamrozik


The exhibition is based on two areas of Ryszard Kaja’s work, which were harmoniously intertwined in his life: poster art and stage design. The palace interiors show posters from the “Poland” series. Although characterised as touristic, they are in fact, according to the words of their author: “a guide to the country, soul and culture”.

Reflecting his numerous journeys, the series provided a personal medium of recollections and observations that allow one to perceive the values of native culture, its diversity and local colour. Inside the palace interiors, the exhibition opens with posters depicting Silesia. The artist portrays this region as an important part of Poland’s cultural heritage. Each poster focuses on the unique characteristics and distinctive places of Silesia that were particularly important to Kaja. The works pay tribute to regional accents that the artist had a particular fondness for, such as the Silesian red windows.

Each poster captures the unique atmosphere and characteristics of a particular locality. Rybna, famous for its chamber concerts and music festivals, appears here. Chorzów, which delighted Ryszard Kaja with its industrial atmosphere, Silesian ambience, characteristic chimneys and architecture from the 1920s and modernism. The “Poland” series also features Tarnowskie Góry and its underground treasures, industrial Katowice, Gliwice with its radio station or the little-known Lisowice, which gained fame thanks the discovery of the remains of Poland’s first carnivorous dinosaur in 2005.

In the subsequent exhibition rooms, the story of Poland gains pace. Although each poster is a unique image of a given place, full of symbolic details and characteristic elements, some of them have been grouped together, making the richness and multilayered nature of Polish identity clearer.

One of the thematic groups is made up of posters presenting visual associations related to Polish culture, art or handicraft. These include Łódź, shown as the cradle of abstract art, through references to the work of Piet Mondrian and Katarzyna Kobro. Bolesławiec is distinguished by a motif taken from the local ceramics. Zalipie and Kurpie present folklore and folk art. Further groups of posters depict the beauty of the Polish landscape, highlighting its diversity, showing characteristic towns, regions and the wealth of native flora and fauna. Notable among these posters are the minimalist Zakopane, the theatrical Bieszczady, the symbolic Tatra Mountains and the Table Mountains maintained in a Japanese style. In turn, posters with Warmia, the Izera Mountains and the Żywiec Beskid correspond to the author’s ornithological interests.

Plakaty Ryszarda Kai z serii Polska wiszące w dwóch rzędach - z lewej strony na białej ścianie, z prawej na czarnej ściance.

Noteworthy are the works presenting religious monuments and places associated with religious worship – the Greek Catholic Church in Biały Bór, Grabarka known as the Hill of Crosses, the Tartar mosque in Bohoniki, or Leżajsk and Lublin, associated with Jewish history and culture, and the minimalist Black Madonna. An extremely interesting touch to the “Poland” series are posters that make children smile and evoke memories for adults. Examples are Pacanów and the image of the famous goat and Szczebrzeszyn, which is inextricably associated with the beetle. The posters by Ryszard Kaja are, above all, a play on conventions and symbols that provoke a smile and encourage reflection. The artist explores both the present and the past in a highly painterly manner, conducting a visual dialogue with the viewer. Each poster is a story that makes us reflect on our identity, history and the beauty of Poland. In this way, Ryszard Kaja’s “Poland” series becomes not only a source of artistic inspiration, but also a kind of mirror reflecting the diversity and beauty of the country.

Anna Kempa-Gąsior


Over the years, Ryszard Kaja has been known primarily for his stage design work in theatre and opera. He made his debut as a stage designer in 1989 with the set design for Victor Hugo’s “Hernani” at the Łódź Grand Theatre, where he later worked as the main stage designer. In the 1990s, he was associated with, among others, the Szczecin Opera and the Grand Theatre in Poznan.

He created more than 200 set designs for theatre and opera performances and films in Poland and abroad.

In addition to stage design, Kaja also designed stage costumes. He was a continuator of Zofia Wierchowicz’s and Krzysztof Pankiewicz’s idea of the ” painted costume”, the overriding principle of which is to faithfully transpose the painterly vision of the sketch onto the stage.

The designs gain the status of a separate artistic work.

Kaja’s stage works are filtered through his extraordinary artistic and spatial imagination and his fascination with the Baroque.

Trzy rzędy plakatów Ryszarda Kai do przedstawień operowych wiszące na białej ścianie. Z lewej podwisony manekin w zwiewnej sukni. Dwa stojące manekiny z kostumami i opisami.

All of this influenced the creation of his original, unmistakable “Kaja’s” style. He was able to compose costumes with modest means, almost from nothing, and still they gave the impression of being artistically complete. Ryszard Kaja was a total artist, a multifaceted man and a great creator. In drama theatres, he created set designs for plays such as Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Miller’s “The Two-Way Mirror”, Fugard’s “The Road to Mecca”, Beckett’s “Happy Days”, Kundera’s “Jacques and His Master”, Süskind’s “The Double Bass Player”. For the most important Polish opera houses he has designed scenography for such productions as: “Masked Ball”, “Ernani”, “Falstaff” and “Rigoletto” by Verdi, “Madame Butterfly” by Puccini, “Carmen” by Bizet, “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini, “The Magic Flute” by Mozart, “Don Pasquale” by Donizetti, “Fiddler on the Roof” by Stein and Bock.

Beata Przybylska

Sala wystawowa z kostimami. Z przodu duża, czerwona suknia z kryzą.


RYSZARD KAJA (1962 – 2019) – graphic artist, set designer, painter, one of the most popular contemporary poster designers, lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, where he learned his love of painting from his professor Norbert Skupniewicz. Son of the ceramicist and painter Stefania Patalas and the graphic artist Zbigniew Kaja.
Over the years, Ryszard Kaja has been known primarily for his stage design work. He made his debut in 1989 with stage design for the drama “Hernani” by Victor Hugo at the Grand Theatre in Łódź. In total, he created more than 200 sets for opera and drama performances, television theatre and film. He has been repeatedly awarded the Golden Mask Award for his productions.

KaJA gained wide recognition thanks to his poster art, in particular his series “Poland”, created since 2012 on commission from the Polish Poster Gallery in Wrocław. It shows Poland with a wink, and an inhabitant of almost every region of Poland will find something among them that grabs his or her heart.

Kaja has also designed posters for opera and theatre performances. He was the author of oil paintings, book illustrations, theatre programmes and catalogues.

Honorary Patronage

Herb Województwa śląskiego i napis: Marszałek Województwa Śląskiego Jakub Chełstowski.

Starosta Tarnogórski
Krystyna Kosmala

Po prawej stronie niebieskimi i zielonymi literami widnieje napis "Świerklaniec Gmina z widokiem..." Po lewej stronie herb Świerklańca

Wójt Gminy Świerklaniec
Marek Cyl


Czerwona ramka, na środku duży czerwony kleks. Na górze napis Ryszard Kaja Fundacja. Na dole napis FB.com/ Kaja Ryszard Strona
Logo Opera Śląska
Logo Opera Wrocławska
Logo Tetr Wielki i. Stanisława Moniuszki w Poznaniu

Media patronage

Logo TVP Kultura
:pgp nowe radio/88,7 FM Piekary
Logo Polskie Radio Katowice
Napis Ślązag