Grace, Charles and the Sunflower is a new mosaic by Paulina Olowska that references the socialist belief that through the creation of a public work one can influence and present optimistic visions of a better world. The artist’s idea is based on a Polish mosaic from the 1960s situated on the side of a public school in the village of Raba Zdroj, where Olowska lives. Despite its history, the mosaic remains unprotected and unmaintained: this kind of popular, public, post-soviet art is no longer favoured by the Polish government and there is a strong possibility that it will be demolished in the future. By presenting a similar mosaic in Liverpool, Olowska champions the value of these works and suggests that they should be protected as part of the country’s national heritage.
The main motif in Olowska’s work is a stylised sunflower that contains at its centre a famous image from 1969 by Norman Parkinson: Vogue America’s Creative Director Grace Coddington powdering the nose of Prince Charles at Windsor Castle. In Olowska’s practice, the fashion world is often used to reference major political events and the permeability of culture and society.