Jack Nickolson with Solidarity badge in Cannes in 1981
This photograph was taken by Jerzy Kośnik during the Cannes Film Festival in 1981.
Kośnik was sent from Poland as a photojournalist. During his encounter with Jack Nicholson he asked for his sympathies for freshly-formed Solidarity movement. When Nicholson responded enthusiastically, Kośnik gave him a Solidarity badge. Actor pinned it on his jacket and wore it through the whole festival. After a film by Andrzej Wajda ("Man of Iron", talking about the beginnings of Solidarity movement) won the Palme d'Or, the photograph gained powerful symbolic meaning.
The photo cost Kośnik his job at the Polish newspaper, but simultaneously it became a symbol of world support for Solidarity. It was adopted by its members to various publications and leaflets.
The symbolism of this photo was used again in the campaign during the first afetr Worl War II semi-free elections in Poland in 1989. Based on Jerzy Kośnik's photos taken in 1989, a series of poster entitled "The stars vote for Solidarity" was produced (with celebrities like Jane Fonda, Natasha Kinski and Grace Jones).
The picture of Jack Nicholson wearing a Solidarity badge was used for advertisement posters and banners during the opening of European Solidarity Centre (ECS) in Gdansk in 2014.
- Tołłoczko-Suchańska, Barbara