Excerpt from the new book about visiting Poland and The Baltics.
In case you think there’s something offensive going on in Wroclaw, there isn’t. There’s a political point at play. These gnomes are a reference to the symbol of the Orange Alternative a communist-era dissident group that used ridicule as a potent, yet understated weapon. The Orange Alternative was founded in the early 1980s by Waldemar Fydrych a Wroclaw University graduate in Fine Arts. The Alternative painted a gnome or gnomes on walls where the government had previously painted over anti-government graffiti, thereby drawing attention to the message displayed there previously. Gnomes serve as a reminder of the past. The Orange Alternative are still a small political force in Poland.