Dominika Kowynia

b. 1978, Sosnowiec

Painter specializing in figurative oils. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, she has taught at the same institution since 2003 in the Department of Drawing and Painting, earning a doctorate in 2010. She is interested in the intersection of personal experiences and current events, recent history and literature. Her paintings include references to Libya, where she spent her childhood, but also reflections on the relations between humans and animals, and texts of feminist writers and thinkers. She was twice a finalist in the Bielska Jesień Painting Biennale (2015 and 2017). She's represented by the Szara gallery in Katowice, where she lives and works.


2019, oil, canvas, 130 x 110 cm

Dominika Kowynia addresses the concept of femininity in many of her paintings. She attempts to understand and define it for her own purposes, while also drawing on recollections of women she finds intriguing: “This painting involves a story connected with a figure important for me: a librarian and recreation instructor at my elementary school. As a child I admired her patience and her quiet, delicate voice. Much later, as an adult, I learned that she maintained her mysterious calm thanks to large quantities of valerian she had carried with her from Poland when she emigrated.”


2017, oil, canvas, 90 x 100 cm

This painting is part of a small series of works entitled Expired Exotica, a personal reflection on growing anti-immigrant attitudes in Poland. As the artist explains: “As a child I spent eight years in Libya. Now I tried to recall my relations with Libyans—or rather the lack thereof. Browsing through a family photo album from that period, I saw there only Poles. One photo was taken at a party in a private home. I was surprised to discover that a picture of a black person cut out of a newspaper was displayed on a tapestry in the background as a form of decoration. Even under those circumstances and in true isolation, the need for the imagined exotic was realized without deeper reflection.”

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