Edmund Zieliński born in 1940, raised in Białystok (a province of Pomeriania, near Bydgoszcz). An electrician by trade, for many years he was President of the Gdansk branch of the Polish Folk Artists’ Association. Today he runs sculpture and glass painting workshops for children and young people. During the war, despite living in a region that was subsumed into the German Reich, his family chose not to declare themselves ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche), and instead worked as forced agricultural laborers near Białachowa.
While folk art was an important part of the PRL government’s nation building strategy, it was also the subject of international exchanges – especially with German collectors – which had a profound influence on what we today think of as Polish folk art. A part of Ludwig Zimmerer’s private collection, Got mit Uns (with the German word “Gott” misspelled) was exhibited numerous times in West Germany, and a similar sculpture by Jan Gajdowski points to Zimmerer’s broader influence on artists and collectors. After his death, this work was incorporated into the collection of the private museum of Marian Pokropek in Otrębusy, Poland.