Condemnation of cultural colonialism in the paintings of a young Polish artist (1984)

Review of my exhibition at the DSLU in Ljubljana in 1984

It is no secret that the Warsaw School of Graphic Arts is known all over the world. Many people are interested in the central motifs of Polish artists, which are also the traditions of the nation’s ancestors. Many are interested in the situation of Polish artists, which are also linked to the traditions and history of the nation’s ancestors. It is no coincidence, however, that Polish artists also pose questions about cultural identity and the fates and failures of other nations.

This was also the main confession of the young Polish graphic artist Jan Niksinski at an exhibition recently opened at the Polish Institute in Vienna.

He was born in 1952 in Przasnysz. He started painting at an early age. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk and in Warsaw, graduating in 1978. Travelling to many countries, especially in Southern Europe, he had the opportunity to immerse himself in the culture of these nations, which was a great encouragement and enrichment for his artistic work. Already during his studies, he won first prize at the National Exhibition of Student Graphics. In 1977, he was among the artists representing the achievements of the Polish School of Graphics at the world-famous IBA 77 exhibition in Leipzig. He also exhibited in Austria. His works can be found in private collections in Poland and Austria, as well as in the galleries of West Berlin.

In his paintings, the artist observes the oppression and disappearance of Indo-European cultures, which are ideological creeds of the freedom of the people as the essence of human life. The disappearance of popular culture means the loss of the characteristics of a nation. The artist knows that spiritual independence and disobedience are only realised in social position. The connection with the Polish nation, which has been fighting for its existence and national identity for centuries, has left its mark on his artistic style.

The artist’s condemnation of cultural colonialism can be found in various works. Of particular note is the work ‘Latinosphere’, in which he depicts the cruel suppression of the authentic culture of the Aztecs, Incas and other peoples of the Latin American continent.
(I opened my exhibition at the DSLU in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1984, actually in the still existing Yugoslavia, but after Tito’s death. However, I have noticed that critics writing about this exhibition of mine falsely attribute political and social views to my work, although I have always criticised the use of politics in art. Nor was my printmaking ‘Latinosfera’ any criticism of ‘cutthroat colonialism’, but an expression of my admiration for Latin American literature and mainly portraits of Borges Cortazar are visible there – my author comment 11.04.2024r) In his fascination with Italian, Egyptian and Byzantine culture, he delves into the mythological image of the world. His works range from acrylic paintings, ink and pencil drawings to mixed media and lithography.

The artist has no intention of imposing his subjective philosophy, his inner world; emotion as the sovereign of observation is part of his conception of meaning. In this way, a visit to his exhibition reinforces a conscious attitude towards culture.