My object is a portrait that my mom brought to New York with her after immigrating from Poland in 1991. Her mother gave her the portrait, which portrays Mary, before she embarked on her journey to America to serve as a constant reminder of her faith. The portrait which is based on another portrait, the Black Madonna, that is located in Czestochowa, Poland is of great importance to Polish Catholics. Pilgrimages to the original portrait in Czestochowa served as an act of defiance during times of occupation, especially during World War II and the Communist occupation of Poland. The portrait my mom received reminds her of a pilgrimage to Czestochowa that she was a part of, which lasted 13 days. When coming to America, my mom didn’t know what to expect in the land of opportunity, but her strong faith gave her a positive outlook on starting new in an unknown land. The portrait helped keep her faith strong and gave her hope for a better future. It constantly reminded her of her family and it made her feel like she was somewhat closer to home. The portrait remains in my home today, as a representation of strong faith and as a reminder of the sacrifices my mom made when leaving her home to come to America in search of a better life.
– Pawel S.