Trail of Hajnówka Murals [Film]. Mural on Batorego St. is ready Julia Szypulska February 9, 2024

Trail of Hajnówka Murals film

Mural on Batorego St. is ready

The mural on Batory was the last element of the trail. The long-awaited completion of the work has finally taken place. And it wasn’t easy. Mona Tusz, the author of the mural, had to stop working three times.

Fot. Andrzej Szypulski

The reason was difficult weather conditions. In November, when the artist started painting, she had to stop due to the bitter frost. Later, heavy snow and rain were an obstacle. As soon as the conditions improved a little, the artist came to Hajnówka to continue working. There were three approaches in total. The scaffolding from the block at Batorego 29 was dismantled last Friday, which marked the symbolic end of the work. It is also the end of the artist’s four-month (with breaks) stay in Hajnówka. It is worth emphasizing that the result is not only three murals. Let us remind you that the first one was created at the clinic at ul. Piłsudskiego 10, the second one in the block at Parkowa 4, and the last one at Batorego 29. Mona Tusz’s stay also brought other benefits both for her and the residents.

– I came to Hajnówka to do serious work – three murals on large walls. I had a good vibe then, still on the wave of the festival in Nowogród. I was happy that I was going to Podlasie, I was full of energy. I was also glad that the conversations that started a few years ago finally resulted in me coming here to do something. My stay in Hajnówka was very enriching for me. I've experienced a lot here - both good and bad. Sitting high on the scaffolding, I had space for solitary reflection.

Mona Tusz

Fot. Andrzej Szypulski

As we wrote, bad things happened in connection with the mural on Piłsudskiego Street. A wave of criticism was directed at the artist and the group of people from Hajnówka who worked with her. Often ruthless and aggressive. Some didn’t mince their words. There was an accusation of promoting Belarusian designs, people didn’t like the blue color. However, as the artist admits, every wall means better reactions from the residents.

Good things are a group of people who stood behind the artist. First, those she met while working at Piłsudskiego Street, then others joined the support group. These are people who supported the artist with kind words. These were the ones who brought lighting and heaters to make work more efficient. Finally, these were the ones who invited us for warm tea and cakes. These were the residents who, walking along Batorego Street, shouted: “It’s so cold and you’re working. What a tough woman you are!” Some were old regulars who visited Mona every day. They also came on the day when a team of specialists dismantled the scaffolding. “You deserve a kiss for this kind of work!” – one of them shouted in delight. And as he said, so he did. Another resident, a gray-haired man with a mustache, said: ‘I’m sure this mural is nice. To do something like this is ho-ho! One of them came here and was grimacing. And I said to him: Sir, get up on the scaffolding and do better! He didn’t answer anything.” Someone else walked by, glanced at the mural and waved. Yet another stopped his car in front of the building and got out with a professional camera.

Fot. Andrzej Szypulski

- I am delighted! I am glad that the mural featuring Simona Kossak, an advocate of nature, was created in a city that has a saw in its coat of arms. At last! Beautiful colors and theme – I like it very much.

Katarzyna, guide in the Białowieża Forest

It cannot be denied that both this mural and the previous ones evoked emotions in the inhabitants of Hajnówka – not always positive ones. At the same time, they showed how much good energy there is in the residents and how willing they are to share it when given the opportunity. Some people like the intense blue on the wall of the clinic, others don’t. For some, folk patterns are Belarusian, for others they are simply Podlasie. The greatest value of the mural on Piłsudskiego Street is, however, that it is a joint work of the residents. It is the first social mural in Hajnówka that integrated the residents and made them want to devote their private time to its implementation.

Fot. Andrzej Szypulski

Fot. Andrzej Szypulski

I came here to work and left richer in friendships.

Mona Tusz

The involvement of residents in creating murals on Parkowa Street (the theme is a meadow at dawn) and Batory Street is also valuable. The residents of the blocks first came to meet the artist and choose the topic of the work. They later took part in online consultations. Finally, the mural on Batorego is the first place in the urban space of Hajnówka that commemorates Simona Kossak, a widely known and respected popularizer of knowledge about nature and a lover of the Białowieża Forest. The researcher appeared on the mural in the company of her beloved animals: a raven, a wild boar and a moose. Importantly, they are in the foreground. This is consistent with the way Simona lived, who repeatedly emphasized that man is not the center of the universe. She lived close to nature and animals. There are also herbs that residents asked for, i.e. mullein and chamomile. It is also worth mentioning that Mona Tusz used a mirror mosaic in her works, which reflects light beautifully, creating an additional visual effect.

The paints used by the artist to create the mural on Parkowa were donated by Flügger. Photo: Agata Łuksza

If you would like to reminisce or find out more about the creation of the social mural, you can watch a report by Andrzej Szypulski.


Mona Tusz admits that the Hajnówka Murals Trail was a challenge. She leaves Hajnówka happy that she conquered it. Will she return here again?

- A sure thing!

Mona Tusz

And whether the Trail of Hajnówka Murals ends at Batory Street is up to the residents. There is still plenty of space in Hajnówka, and there are all sorts of funds to be raised. We hope that the three murals mentioned are just the beginning of the trail.

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