Agnieszka Nienartowicz was born in 1991 in Jelenia Góra, a small town in Lower Silesia, Poland. She studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, where in 2016 she received a Master of Fine Arts. In the years 2011-2013 she studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. She was awarded several scholarships, a number of awards and distinctions. Nienartowicz is represented by RJD Gallery in NY, USA and associated with PoetsArtists group. Her works are situated in collections in Poland, United States, Canada, Germany, Austria and Ireland. She lives and works in Cracow, as she claims—the most beautiful city in Poland.
Girl in White—Triptych: Behind the Work
From the beginning of my early teenage years, the more I learned about the world, the more I became convinced that it is a hostile and unfriendly place. As I experienced it, the world evoked fear in me and brought up questions for which I needed to find answers.
I decided to find the Truth. In my imagination, she was to be the Guiding Star of Life. I believed that by finding her, I would find answers. I do not know where I got the conviction that the truth is available and waiting to be found: that it has a shape, volume, and color—that it is like a motionless figure that man needs to find and worship. I believed that there is an ideal—an optimum point of perfection; the scope of aspiration—that man can, and must, reach. Such a view seemed reasonable and based on the natural laws of logic that govern our reality.
I sought the Truth with persistence and tirelessness. First, I looked for it in the austere and thick walls of the sanctuary of the ascetic Catholic religion. Then, in the simplicity of my heart, the Bible, believing that it is the True Word of God. I then sought a living and personal God. I intensely admired Judaism for a brief time. Just as briefly, I searched for the Absolute in nature and biology. I finally turned to psychology, which showed me a world much grander than the one I concocted inside my head. At the end of the beginning of my young life, I realized that I still know completely and absolutely nothing.
I do not know what paths the coming years will lead me to, but instead of asking where I'm running, I have stopped to question what it is that has made me run in the first place, and what has plunged me into a state of darkness that needs answers to escape.
I began to look at my life and wade through all the years of my childhood, and then, in a fluent way, I went through reflections to past generations. I remembered old photos from the years of deep PRL, when apparently only vinegar stood in the stores on the Polish shop shelves, and the food, that was sometimes "thrown" on the shop counter, that people could buy for paper vouchers. I was born later, a few years after this terrible time, and these times are completely foreign to me. I also recalled stories about my grandfather, whom the Russians deported in 1939 from Volyn, where he lived. He stayed in a labor camp on the Dwina near Archangelsk, behind the Arctic Circle. My great-grandfather and great-grandmother worked clearing trees during harsh frost and hunger. Later, they were transported to Kazakhstan, where my great-grandfather died. After the war, my great-grandmother returned to Poland with her four children. One of them was my grandfather.
The history of our country is very tragic, and my family's story is not unique at all. Likely, the majority of people I know have had someone in their family who died in a concentration camp or miraculously escaped from death in it or someone who, like my grandfather, was deported to Siberia in a cattle trailer.
In 2016, I went to the United States for the first time—New York. Currently, I work with Americans and have some American friends. I remember my surprise after the first contact with these people—how much joy, openness and positive attitudes towards the world is in them. I think that there is a sadness in me that transferred from the blood of previous generations, who experienced suffering. I think many of us Poles, are—often without even knowing it—deeply scarred by hard history; the stigmas of unfulfilled dreams, traces of surgery on aching souls, disfigurement after difficult choices, and wounds of tragic events.
These scars are the tattoos of survival.