Karel Dvořák was a primary school teacher. In 1981 he started to publish his own fanzine, magazine Ufík. He created an online database of fanzines, which he also digitalised.
- České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Mirosław 'Maken' Dzięciołowski was the initiator of reggae sound systems in Polish People's Republic. In 1988 in small town Zgorzelec in Western Poland, together with Mariusz Dziurawiec, he founded Joint Venture Sound System - the first sound system in Poland. In the beginning, he played music from cassettes with a usage of two tape recorders. Reggae was very popular in Poland in the 1980s, especially after the boom on this genre in 1983, but parties with this kind of music were rare because of the shortage of albums and cassettes. 'Maken' presented a broad selection of Jamaican music (reggae, dub, ska) but sometimes he played new wave and punk music too. He was also an author and editor of a few fanzines in that decade. One of them was 'QQRYQ' to which Dzięciołowski was a regular contributor.
The genres such as dub and reggae, in which Dzięciołowski had a special interest, were a part of the alternative music scene dominated by hardcore punk. Many bands tried to mix the reggae sound with punk intensity. In Zgorzelec Dzięciołowski was a manager and sometimes a vocalist of the group Bush Doctor founded in 1985, which mixed styles of punk, reggae, ska, dub, funk, and rap. Musicians of the group were inspired by the crossover music of Bad Brains and Chumbawamba. The affinity between punks and rastas in the 1980s in Poland was perceived as something obvious; young people who presented an alternative mindset sought to get together with other outsiders. This punky-reggae community was regarded as the cultural and spiritual revolt alternative to the political opposition and to all political issues.
After the transition to liberal democracy, Dzięciołowski became one of the most prominent people on Polish reggae scene. He worked as a DJ, manager, journalist, editor, radio, and TV presenter, collaborating with music magazines 'Brum' and 'Plastik', Polish Radio, TVP Kultura (public broadcaster's theme channel dedicated to arts and culture), and Ostróda Reggae Festival.
As a contributor to 'QQRYQ' Dzięciołowski created many graphics and comics illustrating the fanzine. He was also a correspondent of Piotr 'Pietia' Wierzbicki and his colleague. Works by Dzięciołowski were distinctive features of 'QQRYQ' due to their sense of humour and characteristic nonchalant style.
Dzięciołowski was invested more in alternative music scene than in oppositional or dissent activities. He perceived the reggae music an alternative to the political opposition. However, living in a small town he did not have so much freedom as the underground youth in cities like Warsaw, Gdańsk, or Wroclaw, because of the unusual or even shocking image of reggae musicians and fans. Despite his reserve to political issues, as an alternative culture activist and author of a couple of fanzines, Dzięciołowski was in Zgorzelec under investigation of the secret police. In the small towns, young outsiders had also bigger problems with the social control than in the big cities.
- Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland
Rudolf Dzurko was an artist of Roma origin who lived a substantial part of his life in the former Czechoslovakia. During that time, he was a relatively unknown artist until 1996 when the Revolver Revue awarded him its Prize and presented copies of his work to the general public. The originals could be seen by the public in 2002, when Dzurka made a great retrospective of the centre of Egon Schiele in Český Krumlov. In the catalogue of this exhibition, he wrote: "I have never wanted to do art and do not want to do it now. I do not consider myself an artist. Michelangelo, Leonardo, Gogh, these were my true artists. It seems to me, when I'm angry I will make a picture of how angry I am when I'm happy I will make the image sparkling, joyful and when I feel sadness, fear, anxiety, when the whole of Prague falls upon me and the city suffocates me, then I make pictures such as Violent Civilization."
Dzurko was born in 1941 to the "Gypsy" community in eastern Pavlovice. After the war, he and his parents moved to northern Bohemia to replace the expelled and murdered Germans. There, in the vicinity of Nový Bor, he also first became acquainted with the glass shards there, which laid there as a waste after the glass production. He then began his first job, working as a bricklayer and as a metal turner. He began to exhibits his work in the 1970s, when he was invited to exhibitions such as The Art of Czechoslovak Gypsies or Our Fellow Gypsies. He then moved to Prague where he continued his work. After 1989, the National Gallery bought several of his paintings and today the value of his work is counted in millions. The Museum of Romany Culture also owns a relatively large collection.
Dzurko devoted himself to the world of Roma, their poverty and fantasy, foolishness and humanity as well as the search for their place. The paintings are very fragile in nature and he patented his original technique. In his work, he also devoted himself to the subject of communist power, for example, when he created the picture "The Devil (Communists) took a violin from a Gypsy." The painting originated in 1983. In his work, Dzurko captured the publication of the Czech-Roma dictionary, the racist attack of the arsonists in Vítkov in 2009 and the period of communism. He was incredibly aware of what the Communist regime had committed to the Roma people, especially as part of assimilation programmes. Dzurko himself also signed several sentences in a document developed by Charter 77 in the spring of 1989 and published June 29.
- Nový Bor, Czech Republic
Anna Dąbrowska-Lyons (born 1960) is a photographer and the author of the 1999 album Polski punk 1978-1982, the first of its kind publication in Poland. For the last thirty years, Dąbrowska-Lyons has dedicated herself to art photography, especially portraiture.
She originates from Warsaw where in 1983 she finished Post-secondary Photography Studies (Pomaturalne Studium Fotograficzne). Initially, she supported herself with making photographs that were occasionally published in the official press. She also covered concerts and wrote articles for music and youth press, such as e.g. Na Przełaj. For around half a year she worked at SANEPID Sanitary and Epidemiological Station, as working for an official institution increased chances of obtaining a passport, as opposed to freelance work. Dąbrowska became involved with the first punk “crew” in Warsaw virtually at the very beginning of its existence, and was one of the first women to join this heavily male-dominated milieu. Although unlike the majority of her colleagues she did not display interest in playing in a band, she grew to be one of the most prominent figures of Warsaw punk circles of the late 1970s. She co-created the ephemeral Radio Złote Kłosy (Golden Ears Radio; “ear” as in cereals) fanzine composed of humorous collages and drawings, concentrated on the social life of circles close to Tilt and Kryzys bands.
Dąbrowska decided to introduce the style and poetry of punk music and fashion to photography. From the start, she did not consider herself a documentalist, but rather an artist who contributed to the creation of the punk style. Her photographs — not only portraits but also those from rock concerts — are dynamic, expressive and often humours. Dąbrowska had her first exhibition in 1983 in the prestigious Desa gallery at Nowy Świat street in Warsaw. A presentation of young artist’s punk photographs at such high-profile location was a truly unique occurrence. Subsequent exhibitions took place in 1984 at Irena Jarosińska’s Gallery in Warsaw and a year later at Za Żelazną Bramą Gallery, also in Warsaw.
In 1986 Dąbrowska emigrated to the UK, where she had been before, in 1984, thanks to her friendships with young Britons. Initially, she lived with a friend at a squat in London and worked at i.a. a coffee shop. Although the emigration affected her photographer’s career for a time, in 1987 Dąbrowska exhibited her works again, this time at the Cockpit Theatre in London. In subsequent years she presented her works in galleries in Amsterdam, London, Berlin, and Warsaw. In 1999, at her own expense, she published the Polski punk 1978-1982 album, which enjoys today a status of rara avis. The publication included photographs, fanzine collages, and press articles from the first years of punk in Poland. For many years it has been the only publication of this kind in Poland. In 2003 Dąbrowska-Lyons graduated from post-graduate photography studies at Central Saint Martins School of Art. She continues to create art, and apart from photography, she dedicates herself to digital image processing. Although she lives in London, she visits Warsaw on regular basis; in the meantime, she has also spent some time in Ireland and the Netherlands. The main themes of her works are architecture, graffiti, cars, money, and above all else human faces.
In spite of outright hostile attitude of Polish authorities to punk, Dąbrowska as a photographer has never faced any problems related to censorship or surveillance, unlike many others punk musicians and alternative culture activists.
- London, United Kingdom
While abroad Aleksandra Dąbrowska committed herself to documenting the events taking place in Poland, collecting press releases on "Solidarity" Trade Union and on the political situation. In January 1997, upon Aleksandra's request, her husband Jorgen Petersen transferred the collection to the Archives of the National Commission of the "Solidarity" Trade Union via "Solidarity" Archives Foundation.
- Copenhagen, Denmark