Andrzej Wawrzyniak

Andrzej Wawrzyniak

Museum founder and Director, Asia and Pacific Museum, Krakow, Poland

Andrzej Wawrzyniak, sailor and diplomat, started seriously collecting Asian art in Indonesia in the 1960s, during his 9-year diplomatic service in that country. His first interests were weapons, then extended to nearly all areas of traditional and modern art and handicraft. After his return to Poland, the idea of transforming the collection into a museum emerged in his mind. He then donated about 4.000 objects to the Polish state, and created the Nusantara Museum in 1973; the name was later  changed to the Asia and Pacific Museum in 1976. Andrzej Wawrzyniak was appointed its director for life. During the next years, he combined this post with a diplomatic career, serving in Lao PDR, Nepal, Afghanistan and many international missions, visiting almost all countries of Asia and the Pacific. His posts and journeys became the way of building up the  museum’s collection, both by purchases and – more importantly – through donations and sponsorship.

Wawrzyniak’s ability of making contacts, friendships and sharing his passion with others, resulted in the exceptional situation where the total number of gifts and donations in the Museum’s collection is higher than that of purchases. Totally, about 80 % of today’s collection was gathered – in different ways – by the director. Now, the everlasting passion for collecting while still the core of his work, is coupled together with a new aim for the museum to transform itself into a new and modernised form.

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