WACŁAW SEWERYN RZEWUSKI
was a legendary Polish traveller (1784–1831), who blended together two archetypes: that of a Bedouin Emir and that of a knight fighting for his homeland’s independence.
A passion for horses was in Rzewuski’s blood. He gained an opportunity to deepen his knowledge on these animals when Princess Katharina of Württemberg commissioned him to travel to the Arabian Peninsula and import the most perfect horses from there.
Rzewuski left behind a travel diary Concerning the Horses of the Orient and Those Originating from Oriental Breeds describing absolutely everything he noticed during his voyages around the Arabian Peninsula: maps, sketches of horses, the architecture, customs and everyday objects. He adopted the local culture and dress, which quickly earned him respect from the Bedouins.
Traveller and researcher
Being an eccentric traveller with a thirst for discovery, Rzewuski personifies the ideal of the Romantic hero. Deep in the Arabian desert, he sought a life closer to nature and solace for his troubled heart. He became an inspiration for later Polish Romantic writers: poems written in his honour included Adam Mickiewicz ("Faris") and Juliusz Słowacki ("An Elegy for Wacław Rzewuski”).
Rzewuski loved horseback riding and fencing since childhood – military traditions were cultivated in his family for centuries. He earned admiration among the Bedouins for his riding skills and ability to wield the sabre, lance and spear. His lifelong attachment to his homeland found its culmination in his fighting in Poland’s defense during the November Uprising of 1830–31, where he perished.
“The Emir from Poland'' is presented for the first time at the Poland Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai, as part of “Poland. A land of plenty” temporary exhibitions programme.
This is the opening of a larger project about the amazing adventures of Wacław Seweryn Rzewuski with plans of being exhibited in different forms around the Middle East, Europe and beyond.
The exhibition was created by Stellar Fireworks and Science Now – studios specializing in original formats for experiences ranging from themed shows and attractions to immersive exhibitions. We deliver imaginative stories, characters and worlds grounded in diverse business and artistic domains.
The exhibition is organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. Exhibition partners: Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH), National Library of Poland.
THE EXHIBITION AT EXPO 2020
We recount Rzewuski’s incredible life in the form of animated comics – capitalizing upon the pop-culture potential of his story, examining the different personalities he embodied: driven by passion, with an incredible hunger for adventure, open to the wide world, but also harboring a deep love for his own origins. The narrative canvas of the animation is based on “An Elegy for Wacław Rzewuski” by Juliusz Słowacki.
Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
Adam Mickiewicz Institute
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland
National Library of Poland
CONCEPT & PRODUCTION
Concept and Scenario
Design and Art Direction
Animation and Art Direction
Design and Art Direction
Content Management and Research
Design and Content Research
Scenario, Art Direction, Illustrations
Charles S. Kraszewski
Translations of “An Elegy for Wacław Rzewuski” by Juliusz Słowacki
The exhibition is organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, a national cultural institute, whose mission is to present Polish culture and heritage on the international scene, building broad global recognition of the quality and originality of Polish culture, its artists and institutions.
Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich we Wrocławiu
(“Fundgruben des Orientes”)
Muzeum Wojska Polskiego w Warszawie
(Wojciech Kossak reproductions)
The Royal Castle in Warsaw – Museum
(“The Stockholm Scroll”, excerpts, after 1605, photo: Andrzej Ring,
Mateusz Heise – Szponem i Mieczem
The manuscript of Sur les chevaux orientaux et provenant des races orientales (Concerning the Horses of the Orient and Those Originating from Oriental Breeds) by Wacław Seweryn Rzewuski is in the collection of the National Library of Poland and is available via the digital library polona.pl.