Józef Obrębski’s work on display in Skopje
Ongoing exhibition: The Porechans. The Macedonian Poreche 1932-1933 according to Józef Obrębski’s Ethnographic Records. Prepared by Professor Anna Engelking, Slavic Studies Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences. Organised by the Polish Embassy in Skopje at the Museum of Macedonia, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia. December 15th 2017–March 31st 2018
“What are you scribbling all the time? Be a man, get yourself some work: plow, sow…” – Trpe from the village of Trebolve to Józef Obrębski, 1932
“Everything that Josif found, he photographed” – Karanfila from the village of Trebovle, 2013
Józef Obrębski (1905-1967) is a Polish ethnologist who conducted field research in the Macedonian Poreche from mid-August 1932 to the end of March 1933. Most of that time he lived in the village of Volche, in the house of Kire and Kole Kraychevski and their mother Stefkoyca.
The exhibition on display in Skopje organised by the Polish Embassy features around 80 photographs (out of 550 existing ones) taken by Józef Obrębski in the villages of the Macedonian Poreche, as well as his field notes documenting daily life, ritual and religious life, mythology, folklore, folk medicine and magic rituals of the Porechans. The material he collected was abundant and unique by its very nature.
Photos from the opening of the exhibit:
The exhibition catalogue can be viewed at: https://issuu.com/ambasadarpwskopje/docs/katalog_jozef_obrebski_final
Before coming to the Macedonian Poreche, Obrębski graduated in Slavic Languages and Culture at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. He was later a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation and a PhD student under Bronisław Malinowski, a world-renowned Polish social anthropologist.
His academic legacy can be found in the archives of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA: http://scua.library.umass.edu/umarmot/obrebski-jozef/
The extensive selection of his scholarly writings concerning his research in the Macedonian Poreche appeared in print in the Macedonian translation edited by T. Vrazhinovski (2001-2002). Fragments of his legacy were also published in Polish and English. The largest selection of Obrębski’s photographs from the Poreche region came to light in the bilingual volume Порече 1932-1933. Macedonian Poreche 1932-1933 (ed. T. Vrazhinovski, A. Engelking, J.M. Halpern, Prilep-Skopje 2003).
All photos by Józef Obrębski are courtesy of the Department of Special Collections & University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst