Persona January, 17th 2024 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 449 – Wanda Michalak Revisited

wanda cats – 1

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 449 – Wanda Michalak Revisited
Photographer Wanda Michalak has always been an animal lover. She presently has an exhibition about her cats entitled “Cat’s Life – Kocie Sprawy”.

wanda cats – 2-

An exhibition about cats? Wanda: “Yes, why not? Cats are cool and cuddly, I love them. They are mysterious animals leading their own life, following their own logic, dictated by their own desires. Also, it was not my idea to have cats. They came to me on their own, one by one. All my cats are adopted cats”.

wanda cats – 3

She currently owns three cats: Mru-Mru (15/16), Bowie (5) and Guapa (young, age unknown). Wanda: “Mru-Mru is the boss, Bowie is afraid of everything and Guapa is in love with Mru-Mru. Mru-Mru doesn’t like that very much and sometimes gives her a kick.”

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• Mru-Mru is a very greedy cat. He got lost a few times. Once he was almost buried alive in the next-door Albert Heijn Supermarket where a new floor was being laid. Luckily, he was detected by the video surveillance camera. That was a narrow escape. He nearly lost an eye in a fight with another cat in the backyard.

• Bowie is a half wild cat, born in the Swiss Alps. He once found his way through a house and jumped in panic into the Prinsengracht canal. Luckily people saw that, and Bowie could be rescued.
• Guapa is a Spanish girl. “She found us in Begur, Catalunya. She was so pushy, we decided to adopt her. She doesn’t take no for an answer.”

wanda cats – 5-

Then there are the cats who received a warm welcome to cat heaven, like:
• Grisza (1993-2010): Golden Eye. “My first cat. A smart cat, my favorite. Was abandoned, I rescued him”
• Nono (2001-2021): “A white, gentle giant. Had a serious back injury (probably from a kick), an orthomanual veterinarian managed to heal him.”

wanda cats – 6

Dog owners tend to resemble their dogs over time, does this also apply for cat owners?
“No, cats are different. With cats it’s not in the physical resemblance, it’s in the mind. If they want something, they get it. They are also very resilient. Guapa almost died. We didn’t see what was wrong with her. Her teeth turned out to be totally infected and all of them had to be removed. Now she is a happy eater.”
Do people in different countries treat cats differently?
“Yes, in Spain for example, most people don’t bother about cats, they are not dog friendly either.”
“On the other hand, Turkish people love cats.”

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Do you know other cat photographers?
“Not really, but last weekend we were at the photographers’ fair in Loods 6 in Amsterdam, and there we discovered the work of Fleur Huijsdens. In corona time she lost her cat and was saddened. As a kind of therapy, she begun to take pictures of other people’s cats, beautiful photographs.”

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A tour of all the photos

We take a tour of all the often-beautiful cat photos and see, among others:
• A stern looking neighbour cat in Switzerland. She is the mother of many others;
• Nono with his green eyes;
• Mru-Mru and Bowie amidst renovation plastic;
• A stranger cat that climbs into the bedroom in Le Trétien (Switzerland);
• Mru-Mru on bench and five times Wanda in a painting by Pim Vlug;
• Grisza, with head lying on the table;
• Mru-Mru with beautiful pink cloth in the background;
• A Chinese cat, is Mru-Mru after all;
• Harrie Blommesteijn with dog Johnny and Wanda with cat Grisza, all staring at each other;
• A young Sebastian with Grisza;

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• And in the gallery display window a multi-colored portrait of Wanda in the tulip fields with Mru-Mru in her left arm and a large black bird in her right hand
If a cat could philosophize, what would his/her thought be?

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Wanda refers to a book of John Gray that is on the table in front of me, ‘Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life’. Gray discovers in cats a way of living that is unburdened by anxiety and self-consciousness, showing how they embody answers to the big questions of love and attachment, mortality and morality.
Wanda: “Simply said, if I was a cat, I would say to my boss: ‘take me as an example, don’t worry and be happy.’”
1) neighbour’s cat, 2) Nono, 3) Mru-Mru & Bowie plastic renovation, 4) She came in through the bedroom window, 5) 5xWanda & Mru-Mru on bench, 6) Grisza, 7) Mru-Mru, 8) Chinese cat Mru-Mru, 9) Wanda met vogel en tulpen, 10) The machine Bowie & Nono.

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