A graphic tale, a historical diorama showing Rzeszów, and finally a re-enactment of the Great War battles were all high points of the “Military in the Austro-Hungarian period” art workshops. The event took place on 11 May in the Rzeszów Underground Tourist Route, and attracted a number of young people from the nearby schools.
The workshop was run by a renowned historian, Rafał Kocoł. The first part was more theoretical, but made very appealing by the graphics, with the speaker taking an easel and manila paper to depict in dry pastels and charcoal the uniforms and equipment used by the soldiers of Franz Joseph I, as well as the Polish legionaries of Józef Piłsudski.
The other, very much hands-on part, involved everyone moving back over a century, to a time of lead soldiers as well as entire armies of cardboard for children to play with. With the guiding hand of the speaker, everyone painted, cut and glued together cardboard soldiers, model trees, buildings and fortifications. Together they created a diorama that included a battlefield scene for the model soldiers. The workshop reached a climax with a wargame, where everyone could put their creations to use, re-enacting the strategies of a historical skirmish from the Great War period.
“Everyone gained first-hand knowledge on the legions that fought for Polish independence. They were able to learn a lot about the combat equipment of Austrian-Hungarian soldiers, as well as the many important historical events of that time. What is more, they gained very practical skills and understanding of how to make terrain, through creating a model for the final battle. I see this as an appealing and artistically encouraging lesson in history” – Rafał Kocoł commented.
The workshops were part of the project “Rzeszów and Stropkov – Cooperation for the Cultural Borderland” funded within the framework of Interreg Cross-border Cooperation V – A Poland – Slovakia 2014–2020.