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"Psychosocial Effects of the Smolensk Catastrophe”

Marta Sytniewski

Oil, acrylic and wax on five canvases,

36" x 144"

100% original, 100% hand panted

COPYRIGHT©Marta Sytniewski 2011.




"Psycho-social Effects of the Smolensk Catastrophe" exposes psychological, emotive and social responses of the Polish public toward the Presidential Plane Crash in Smolensk, Russia. The painting is composes of five 24” x 36” canvases that function independently as well as a unified whole. In its joined composition, the work presents four airplanes in the background in reference to inaccurate news reports that followed the tragedy. The titles of the individual canvases, beginning from the right hand side are as follows:


1). Falsified Autopsy Reports and Oath of Secrecy.

It is important to commemorate the victims of the Polish Air force Tu-154 crash, not because they were state figures, but because they were human lives, taken unjustly. We encounter a crying woman over the coffin of her deceased father. In her hand she holds falsified autopsy reports and on her leg appear chains to symbolize her fear of imprisonment.

Smolensk Catastrophe victims’ grieving families and loved ones have been threatened and immobilized with fear of imprisonment. With the lack of cooperation from Poland’s government, the grieving families were left feeling helpless. Furthermore, public opinion toward the catastrophe has become intertwined with political bias and diplomatic affairs. This, in turn has led to desensitization toward the grieving. Many have developed aversive and opinionated reactions primed by the mere mention of the catastrophe. This painting is intended to encourage us to remember who we are fighting for; those left in grief and suffering, through tears, pray for closure.


2). The Fall of Faith; The Fall of Hope represents the polish public indirectly affected by the Catastrophe. The vast majority of civilians regarded the crucifix outside the presidential palace in Warsaw, as a shrine for the victims. The presidential palace had seemed as a appropriated location for a monument to commemorate the victims of the presidential plane crash. When the monument was moved away from this site, with it the unresolved issues surrounding the Smolensk Catastrophe have drifted away from the media’s attention. The fall of faith refers to the pretense of the monument as threatening Poland’s contemporary secular state. The fall of hope represents the unsuccessful pleas and protests in this issue collectively called the “Cross Wars”. Polish legal authorities were unwilling to investigate the details of the plane crash and after the fail of the “cross wars” those fighting for the cross learned that a large portion of the public was likewise unwilling to help. However, in this painting, the cross represented as a figure, has not fallen completely, but rather it is suspended in air, to encourage our continued search for the truth.


3). Blinded by Power Control and the Pursuit of Wealth.

This painting pertains to the psychology behind mass murder. Most often genocide has clear political and economic advantages and thus the man in this painting is blinded by money in one hand and the globe, to symbolize power and control, in the other. Other times, mass murder is a function of redistribution of hatred or competition among political movements. The man in this painting is walking on corpses that were modeled after the victims of the Katyn Massacre. Polish corpses in Katyn were discovered in 1943, but it wasn’t until 1990 that the truth about the involvement of the Soviet Union was acknowledged. This painting reinforces the notion that the fight for truth and justice is winnable and that comparable mysteries have been uncovered in our past. This man is also pregnant and from his belly emerge two rays that run throughout the entire five canvas composition. This serves as encouragement to pursue Smolensk catastrophe investigations for our sake and for the sake of our offspring.


4). Silent Witness.

His body is crippled with terror; his eyes are shot with fear. His mouth is screaming for justice yet it is overgrown with skin. Despite his efforts, nothing will be herd. In his hands he protectively holds the image of his family. The threat of punishment, and specifically guilt generated by the perceived responsibility of a probable death of a loved one, constitutes one of the most powerful psychologically manipulative devices. Although this witness is silent, not all is lost. On his neck hangs a shuttered camera that could be delivered anonymously. The contents of this camera could be reconstructed and retrieved.


5). Search for the Truth

This painting portrays a tired women who barely holds up the weight of her body as she moves forward with her search for the truth. She reaches for the black box that constituted the primary evidence in the Smolensk plane crash. Her body progressively ages as she reaches toward the evidence. With persistence and support she, like us, will attain what she is searching for. This is painted to honor the efforts of engineers, attorneys, medical examiners, forensic investigators, other researchers and professional organizations, as well as community organizations, religious and interest groups and the caring public. The Psychosocial Effects of the Smolensk Catastrophe monument is especially intended to honor the victim’s families and loved ones as it portrays psychosocial responses individuals rather than political agendas. I pray that this work will reward the efforts for truth and justice and encourage hope.





This painting features informative, educational and socially constructive content that identifies Marta Sytniewski’s independent Significant Art Theory


The technical difficulty, advanced skill level, complex detail, intelligent composition, continuous painting production and education (Trained in art privately, independently and academically since early childhood. Completed B.A. Psychology with highest honors, pursuing M.A. Studio Art), talent of Marta Sytniewski and her work, and scarcity of similar art, combine to valuate Marta Sytniewski's oil paintings as especially lucrative assets with positive and fast-paced projected investment growth.


Marta Sytniewski paintings, her Significant Art Theory and her signature are protected by International and Federal Copyright and by Trademark Laws. COPYRIGHT © M.SYTNIEWSKI, 2011. All rights reserved.


No reproductions, no limited editions and no copies have been made of  this beautiful 100% ORIGINAL Marta Sytniewski oil painting.


Marta Sytniewski's oil paintings are 100% hand painted, they are not computerized and they are not printed. M. Sytniewski’s paintings are authentic 100% artist labor oil paintings.


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Katastrofa Smolenska