Poland's past colonial dreams shed light on East and Central European regimes of today


An exhibition in Paris reveals Poland's now forgotten colonial ambitions in the 1930s. In doing so, it makes a link between past Polish attitudes to colonies and other peoples and the racist reflexes of some governments in Central and Eastern Europe today. Ludovic Lamant reports.

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The collection of colour magazine covers stretches the length of the exhibition room, like an historical frieze of one country's toxic ambitions. One cover displays the photo of an aircraft carrier, another a view of a sandy beach fringed with palm trees, while further on there are images of an ocean liner and the portrait of an African woman. These images of technological modernity alongside rancid exotic visions are the most unsettling part of an exhibition called in English 'Opaque to Herself. Poland and postcolonialism'.