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Crying for art at Tear Shop in Poland


07-24-2014 00:09 BJT

Artists in Poland are paying people to cry. An unusual art project is capturing the attention - and tears - of residents in Lublin, a city south-east of Warsaw. 

In this shop, crying is the name of the game. It's called the Tear Shop and it's attracting much attention here in Lublin. It's located close to several pawnshops, and the artists are inspired by the people they meet in the area - particularly the unemployed and those trapped in poverty.

"We realised that on the 25th anniversary of the first free election, that not everyone has benefited from the democratic changes. When we walked the streets of Lublin and talked to the people, we noticed that many of them have no work or have jobs they don't like," Tear shop co-founder Alicja Rogalska said.

The opportunity to earn money is also attracting people to the shop. Whoever spontaneously bursts into tears can earn about 32 US dollars for just 3 milliliters of tear drops. For many who've come here, it's the first time they've ever seen anything like this.

"First of all it never hurts to earn some money and to help somebody in the creation of art," Roza, a participant said.

The tears these inconsolable participants are crying will be labelled with their names and dates of birth, and then placed in a special display case. The pawnshops, and the city of Lublin, inspired the project. After all, pawning something precious is no different than selling your tears.

"When you walk in to a pawnshop you leave something precious in return for only a few pennies, most often to pay the rent or buy your kid's school books. This Tear Shop is similar in a way. You give something precious, precious for us artists. Thanks to these artifacts, people can create collections which will be shown in art galleries, museums," Tear shop co-founder Lukasz Surowiec said.

The project is set to run until Friday, or until the artists run out of their 1,600 US dollars worth of funds.

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