Artist Discussion: The Polonia Case
Discussion topic: Position of women in art and society in the 19th century and today – The Polonia Case
On the 11th November 2021, on Polish Independence Day, the artist Malgorzata Drohomirecka joined by Urszula Chowaniec and Izabela Morska will discuss the issues of womanhood, representation, empowerment and self-determination. The starting point of the discussion will be the study case of Polonia, but the debate will examine other examples from across pop culture, art and politics, and will be moderated by the exhibition’s curator Marta Grabowska.



Małgorzata Drohomirecka is a visual artist. Her practice intertwines painting, printmaking and film. She studied Painting at Academy of Fine Arts, Gdansk (Poland). After completing her master’s degree in 2006 she moved to London, where she has lived and works since. In 2020 she was awarded a Scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Culture for the realization of the online project Polonia_2020. In 2021 an essay by Izabela Morska about her series of paintings Polonia_2020 was published in Czas Kultury. Her recent solo exhibitions include: Żak Gallery, Spider-Phoenix, Gdańsk (2019). She showed her analogue film at Apiary Studios, Contact: A Festival of New Experimental Film and Video, London (2016).

In her latest series of paintings, she analyses “visual representations of femininity in the paintings of the greatest masters of 19th-century Polish painting”. By engaging with motives from popular films, music videos and stock images, Malgorzata challenges those traditional depictions from a 21st century point of view.

More about Malgorzata here.
Ula (Urszula) Chowaniec, Ph.D. is Professor (dr hab.) at the Andrzej Frycz-Modrzewski Cracow University in Poland and the Research Fellow at University College London School of Slavonic and east European Studies. Currently, she lives in Stockholm. She is an author of a monograph Melancholic Migrating Bodies in Contemporary Women’s Writing (2015) and W poszukiwaniu Kobiety: O wczesnych powieściach Ireny Krzywickiej (In Search for a Woman: Early Novels of Irena Krzywicka, Kraków 2007). She also cooperates with the Festivals, works as an editing doctor for scripts and a curator of art exhibitions (previous cooperation with Centrala: Her current research concentrates on Jewish history and Jewish identity in women writing and the contemporary lesbian women’s writing.
More about Ula and her research here and here.

Izabela Morska is one of the most substantial Polish literary voices. She is an educator, as well as a writer forever daring to expand into the new areas of critical exploration. In her fiction, nonfiction, and cultural criticism, she embraces neglected and subversive narratives, focusing on dispossessed characters who transcend the conformism of social or gender alignment. Her latest book, Znikanie (Vanishing, 2019), a memoir of illness as a journey, received the Pomerania Literary Award and was nominated for Nike and Angelus Literary Prizes. Her first book in English, Glorious Outlaws: Debt as a Tool in Contemporary Postcolonial Fiction (2016) testifies to her interest in subaltern themes and postcolonial narratives. Morska is a former Affiliated Scholar at ISEES and BBRG University of California-Berkeley, as well as Yaddo and Hawthornden Fellow, and she holds the MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College, California. In 2018 she received the Julian Tuwim Prize for life achievement. She lectures on animals as literary characters and other themes linking literature and ecology in the English and American Studies Department at Gdansk University, Poland.

Marta Grabowska is an art historian, independent curator and Slow Art activist with an interest in grassroots arts and intersectional feminism. Originally trained in creative photography, Marta studied curating at Central Saint Martins, UAL, and NODE Centre of Curatorial Studies, Berlin. She also graduated from History of Art and Curating from Birkbeck, University of London, where she researched SlowArt. Marta is a former founder and curator at ONE Project and co-creator at artBLAB London. In 2020 he co-founded Red Zenith Collective, a networking platform for female and non-binary creatives with a link to Central and Eastern Europe. Recently she was appointed curator of the Museum of HERstory of Art in Krakow, Poland. Marta has curated exhibitions, residencies and events, with a special focus on showcasing CEE artists, in the UK, CEE, China and online. She is a visiting lecturer in Artivism: Art for Social Change programme at Adelphi University in New York. Her passion for audience engagement and accessibility led her to become an author of a series of Guides to Slow Looking and a host of Meditations with Art series.
More about Marta here.