New East Digital Archive

Controversial Warsaw rainbow dismantled

Controversial Warsaw rainbow dismantled
Saviour Square in Warsaw (Image: Adrian Grycuk under a CC licence)

27 August 2015

A controversial rainbow installation in Warsaw has been removed by the city authorities.

Rainbow (Tęcza), by Polish artist Julita Wójcik, had stood on Saviour Square (Plac Zbawiciela) since 2012, having initially been intended to adorn the square for just a few months. The most recent renewal of the contract with the city technically allowed for the installation to stand on the square until the end of 2015, but it was nevertheless taken down last night.

The 9-metre high rainbow is seen in liberal circles as a symbol of tolerance and diversity, but conservative opponents of the installation have levelled criticism against its location next to the Church of the Holiest Saviour, given that rainbows are often associated with the LGBT Pride movement. A politician from the conservative Law and Justice party, Stanisław Pięta, complained that this “hideous rainbow had hurt the feelings of believers”, and there have been numerous instances of vandalism to the structure. Badly damaged by an arson attempt on Polish Independence Day in 2013, the city authorities had it rebuilt at a cost of over 100,000 zlotys ($27,000).

Magda Mich, spokeswoman for the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, which works to promote the Polish language and Polish culture abroad and was responsible for the rainbow arriving in Saviour Square, said that the installation will be moved to another location.