A Letter to Rosa

A Letter to Rosa, 2012

In the project Born in Berlin – A Letter to Rosa, Rajkowska explains to Rosa, her daughter, that the drawings are meant as a disenchantment of history: “You were going to be a gift for Berlin, a city which, for me, was the place from which destruction usually came. At least for my family. A gift to lift the spell.” Rajkowska decided to give birth to her daughter in Berlin. She named her Rosa, after two women: Rajkowska’s great-grandmother, Róża Stern, as well as Rosa Luxemburg, the Polish revolutionary from Zamość, who spent most of her life in Berlin and was murdered there. She was an outstanding intellectual, a theorist of political economics, a co-founder of the Spartakusbund and a leader of the German left-wing Social Democrats. Rajkowska made a conscious decision to move to Berlin, a city which has always been the destination of thousands of emigrants. Her project became a kind of reenactment of history, and the artist’s seemingly private act has acquired unusual symbolism. The emotional and administrative consequences of this decision will be felt by her daughter throughout her life: from now on, in the space for date and place of birth, Rosa will always write: ‘Berlin’. The city and its history will be a part of her life forever. In her Born in Berlin project, Rajkowska shows her unborn child around the painful locations of Berlin and acquaints her with the wounds of the past. She confronts society’s hope for the future (a newborn baby) with the city’s history. Rajkowska hopes that, in this way, the future will forgive the past. She consciously offers new life to this city which rose from the ruins, and has now become one of the most dynamic metropolises in the world. Born in Berlin, which originated from a personal story, stimulates a public discussion on the topic of migration, and makes public the private social processes which people usually pass over in silence.


Commissioned by 7th Berlin Biennale
Curator: Artur Żmijewski, Joanna Warsza, Voina
A co-production of the 7th Berlin Biennale with Zak-Branicka Foundation, supported by the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
Project manager: Zdravka Bajović