a visual artist, painter and creator of installations in public spaces, currently working on PhD at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1999, she graduated with honors from the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in Mieczysław Wasilewski’s Poster Studio; additional annexes to her diploma were completed in Jerzy Tchórzewski’s Painting Studio and Julian Raczko’s Drawing Studio.
She leads the Concept of Image Studio at the Media Arts Faculty of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.
She lives and works in Warsaw.
Beata Konarska creates projects that encompass elements of painting, graphics, and design, which appear in public spaces in Warsaw and other cities.
She is a co-author of well-known site-specific installations commissioned by public institutions, such as “PEGAZI” in Krasiński Square in Warsaw for the National Library, “TREEHOUSE” for the University Library in Warsaw, and “ROOSTERS” for the Embassy of France in Poland.
The “Pegazi” installation was featured in a film by Agnieszka Holland and Magdalena Łazarkiewicz promoting Warsaw as a candidate for the European Capital of Culture 2016.
The author of numerous exhibitions related to her painting, which she unconventionally realizes in public spaces, seeking an independent path for presenting art in the context of open spaces.
Her works have been exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions in Poland and abroad, featured in Polish and international catalogs and albums, and presented on Polish international portals dedicated to design and art. They are part of collections in Europe and the USA.
Complete and ongoing projects, series of paintings presented in more or less chronological order can be found on the subpage “ART” .
However, the documentation of exhibitions, current events and work in progress- on the subpage “BLOG”.
I also have an online shop, where I sell my art prints and posters of my paintings. My online store is HERE >>
For some time now, my attention was drawn to the topic of identity. Working on the subject, I came to explore my own.
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” Simone de Beauvoire
I’m 47 years old, and I love my body and the personality behind it. Finally, for the first time in my life, I can say this out loud. My 47 years of age are mine, and they are wonderful. I am a beautiful woman, at times very feminine, at other times quite masculine- at last, I can be her on my own terms. I am the mistress of my own body and life. I am often masculine, because it is a strong piece of my identity, constructed over the years, so as not to be seen as too feminine- stupid. Now, I can finally also be very feminine. Feminine the way I like it, not the way others want to see it. Sometimes, it’s just for me, others it’s for men, or for women or people of any other gender identity and psychosexual orientation.
I can finally release the fantastic element of me that is the amazing woman, the sex appeal- that I’ve choked down, concealed and controlled, not to seem too defiant, daring or plainly easy or simple. I gradually come to see my femininity without the negative filter- “womanly”, or the fear of getting raped. I no longer have to be forcefully masculine, for my art to disappear beneath others labelled “womanly”- worse. Right now, I see “womanly” as an advantage in art and in life alike. I can be a happy single woman, the mother of two teenage daughters, who just begun a new chapter in life- on her terms.
I am definitively free of all the shoulds and shouldn’ts; dos and don’ts; the remain quiet-say something, you’re a lady- act like one. Because girls shouldn’t: curse, speak too loud, argue, mess around, climb trees, play with the boys, have stains or dirty nails, burp or fart- boys don’t have to. Agree, take a bow, smile, be kind, be clean, be polite, grateful, elastic- just be diplomatic, don’t cause any problems, restrict yourself, don’t be provocative. Who are YOU? A tomboy, a cold fish, the one that wears the pants, probably a dyke, asexual, mentally ill, too kind/unkind, fashionable/out of fashion, too attractive/not attractive at all; old and ugly, young and pretty but daft, cute idiot, smarty-pants, dolly, girly, saint, slut. Don’t mess around, don’t overreact, don’t be so hysterical, a Polish Mother- sacrificed herself for her family, a housewife, didn’t make a carrier, doesn’t pay much attention to her children, gained some weight after labour, promptly lost it afterwards- she doesn’t look too good/bad for her age, the way you wore this age. After fourty you might as well be dead- nobody would want you.
At last I’m free of it all.
I can divorce an unhappy marriage, because remaining in it I feel unhappy and I refuse to go along with it. I need not be the hostage of anyone’s love, or the lack of it. I can get myself a lover who is my muse. I can paint him, then make love with him.
I can also have a boyfriend, and then a broken heart because he left. And finally, I can be crazy in love, exalted and impassioned and craving for lust, in distress after the break-up, emotional, hysterical, overly sensitive, have mental breakdowns and be fragile. And then I can allow myself not to medicate. I don’t have to be perfect, top or never mistaken. I can speak aloud what I think and feel. I can look examine myself and learn. The fears I harbor can be shared with my friends. At last I can stop holding it in. I am allowed to expose the dirt of domestic violence beyond the house walls. I no longer need to be diplomatic. I can be strong, decisive and vulgar, if I feel like it. I can say #fuckoff whenever I deem it suitable. I am all those things. At last I permit myself the right to it. I love myself like this. And by no means am I currently looking for a boyfriend. I’m not looking for a husband, either. I’m more than happy to meet new people, but for the soul purpose of interesting conversations, adventure, to dig deep into life with fantasy and impetus. Because that’s the way I like it. I want to be dauntless treading through life. I want to be self-determined and independent. And I am. And I never want to lose it.
I’ve gained distance to the outer criticism towards my persona, but overall most importantly I managed to tame my inner critic. The executioner who for years stopped me from feeling what I felt, understand what I thought and decide over my body and my life and be able to cherish it the way I want to, my way. I needn’t feign happiness to make someone happy. I don’t need to feign orgasm. Right now, the only thing I want is truth. Even if it’s harsh and uncomfortable. And it’s said truth I prefer to be hit in the face with, than sugar-coated falsehood.
Removing this facade wasn’t easy. It used to be impenetrable and new. Passed on by parents and family from the ultra-Catholic city of Częstochowa and small villages from the eastern borderlands, enforced throughout the lessons in primary, sports, music schools, high schools, the Catholic Church, childhood friends, society, poured into my head by TV and other media, the right and left political parties, concluding on the environment of the Academy of Fine Arts (ASP), where I studied.
Then, several years later, in 2016, there was a cracks begun to appear- the facade was getting old. It was then, that I reclaimed ownership over my body, and that a very significant collection of paintings came to exist- “Mea Vulva”. I was beginning to move the facade aside because it was dulling my view, which was beginning to bother me. Until it gradually shattered, and I shook it off like a bad dream. I left behind a tone of rubble, and am that much lighter and free. What a relief.
Finally, I can say that to me, from my perspective I am the centre of the universe. Because I am. With a clear conscience, I can look in the mirror and say, “You are beautiful and valid”. Without feeling vain.
Now I can be sexy and sensual or cold and unavailable. I can walk the city with no makeup on. Yes. It’s a big deal, a challenge thrust by society for a woman “my age”. But I’m not a woman of “an age”. My age is mine, and each year, I’m a year older. Just like everyone. I finally have my own internal consent to look older from one year to the next, and not younger. I don’t need to impress anyone. Ultimately, I don’t mind anyone seeing a wrinkle, a pimple or cellulite, a gap, a vein, greying roots or unwaxed dark hair.
I can finally decide on my image freely, depending on my mood, what I should and shouldn’t. I can change my mind, make mistakes. I can be an extravert, then close up within myself for a length.
At last I can walk around with no bra on, because I dislike the pressure around my ribcage, and not mind that my nipples might show. Because I don’t care whether it disgusts anybody or turns someone on. My nipples are a part of my body, and I have them the same way men have theirs- so similar to women’s / #freethenipple
You probably don’t care too much, since this is the private side of mine, but this is my page, and subpage “about me”, so I decided that this would be the place for my public coming out. It’s an important, symbolic move for me. This too is a part of my Freedom, to which I have gradually matured and chose.
“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” J. P. Sartre
I’m aware, that my story is one that repeats itself, analyzed by science, art, criticism and feminists for years. I believe, however, that it is the frequency- the multiplicity of repetitions is the key to understanding any states and to change. I live by the deep notion that each voice on this subject matters. The mechanism of “repetition” is the go to in the fourth wave of feminism, building its foundation on individual stories and gaining a worldwide network and power through social media. My individual story is another brick off the still stupendous wall, which was convicted to fall by the suffragettes of the XIX century.
Today, from the 70 year perspective Simone de Beauvoir’s words gain a new meaning. To me, “becoming a woman” is a long process of coming to understand one’s identity, in a way, freeing one’s self from the cliche of religion and social standards, the patriarchal system of politics, economy, culture and language and their discriminatory, depressing, sexist form towards women. It’s only today, that I can finally say I have become a woman.