Interview with Barbara Józefowicz

Barbara Józefowicz, Foto: © Jasielski Dom Kultury
Barbara Józefowicz, Foto: © Jasielski Dom Kultury

NAIVA BRATISLAVA brings for you an amazing interview with the artist - Barbara Józefowicz from Poland (Olesnica) - the winner of the GRAND PRIX 2020.

We can see that naive art is for her and her life significant. She is a part of the naive art and the naive art is a part of her. Enjoy this interview.


What was your path to the art?

I felt the need for painting for the first time because of the longing for my homeland, Poland. Andrzej Stasiuk, a contemporary Polish writer, wrote in one of his novels that "a person should be born in such a landscape, spend all childhood in it and then leave it to know what lost love means". For many years I lived in Latin America (Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Cuba) and I missed Poland very much, its landscape, people, traditions, weather, seasons, especially the winter, which I lacked in those climates, the smell of the air, another color of the world. I think that it was this lost love that led me to painting. And because I didn't have art studies, I started painting as I could, naively. Every year, when I came to Poland for holidays, I saw how everything was changing here and I realized that I really miss not only this place on Earth, but also the time that is gone and remained only in my memory and heart. For ten years, my paintings hung only on the walls of my house. It was Alejandro Pinzon, a Great Colombian naive painter, who convinced me that my paintings must leave the house and go to exhibitions, because they are worth it. I am very grateful to him for believing in me.

What does naive art mean for you?

My friend wrote a poem to one of my first paintings. For me, this poem is the quintessence of naive art. The poem in Polish rhymes beautifully.

So what if the bird is bigger than the house? Who frightens this?

It is well known - that's the way it works with storks.

A doggy cow, and feline dog? It's nothing, good God.

And it's fair enough the grain did not grow out of snow,

the church didn't bend over, the castle did not stumble

wings do not grow on trees, sparks does not pour from sleds.

Everything is possible on this extraordinary night

when the palace shines with gold and the moon is bright

the silver test glows among the sky of darkness.

The star blinks from a distance ... Something spins in the eye.

You check with your hand and feel the tear rising.

Don't cry, little heart - this world doesn't die.

It hid under your eyelid and awaits the moment

when you look deep into the night. No, your eyes don't fool you.

You see the dot. It shines. A tiny light.

It's a window, a garden and a house like a box.

You look deeper and see - everyone sitting around.

Mom gives dinner. It's warm, cheerful around.

So you'll ask: Why? Why and for what?

I will answer that I do not know. However, by the Power of Fate

it all vibrates, flows somewhere and will always prevail.

Can anyone wholly comprehend the Einstein's equation?

It is said that to see the whole picture well you have to go beyond its frame. My Naive Art is an attempt to go beyond "the frame" of myself and look from a perspective, an attempt to define my own feelings, emotions and understand what is important to me. Perhaps, if it were not for art naive, I would have never found out what was really going on in my soul.

Do you have a favorite themes and motives in your artworks?

I have themes and motives, but they become obsolete with time and I start looking for something new. When I lived outside the country, I painted Poland. Once I came back to my homeland, I paint the other countries where I lived as well, because the time I had spent there is important for me too. I am emotionally connected with each of my paintings, each of them shows a part of my story. My mother, who missed her hometown Vilnius and every year painted the fence around the house in the colors of the Lithuanian flag. My Dad, who liked to visit a car workshop, where he spent hours with friends. Impressions from childhood, when the world seemed big and colorful, and all people were good and happy. Snowflakes swirling in the light of a street lamp. A cinema in a small Polish town, where I grew up, which was a magical place. There, dreams were born andfor the two hours of the film, the whole world laid at our feet. One of my paintings also illustrates a historical monument around which I learned to walk as a small child. In the town, this monument was demolished and remained only on my painting. Military orchestras, that marched through the streets of the city, arousing the delight of children running behind them. The backyard, where we had so much fun, playing Indians, cowboys, Hopscotch. At that time no one was looking after us, but we felt safe as if an invisible guardian angel was watching over us. That's why I like it when angels appear on my paintings. Those seen only through the eyes of children, invisible to adults. Sometimes an angel sits on a tree, sometimes he has binoculars to watch over children better, sometimes he is accompanied by an angel dog, who despite his wings, walks politely on a leash. The countries in which I lived also appear on my paintings. Fabulous, colorful Mexico, in which everyone is born an artist, and in front of family homes, welcoming New Year, they light bonfires so that the souls of the dead loved ones find their way home. Hollywood painting is a tribute to the passing of time, which justly reaches everyone, not forgetting the rich and famous. First love, last love, belated love .... I enjoy when people look at my paintings and smile.

Where can we see more of your artworks? Online or live.

Every year I try to participate in several naive art exhibitions. In various countries of the world, in Europe and outside Europe. My paintings are in the Regional Museum in Jasło in Poland, in the MAMBO Museum in Bucamaranga in Colombia, in the Eco Art Foundation in Nikiszowiec in Poland. My works illustrate the book "The five senses of a communist childhood" published in Spain. In Canada, in the Alberta Legislature Building, in Edmonton, you can see the stained glass window that I painted. I also post
pictures of my paintings on my Facebook profile.

Do you have any advice for a person who would like to try painting?

Yes. I would say to such a person: "Follow your heart, the melody of your soul. Don't be discouraged by the fact that maybe at the beginning you can't do it perfectly and you might have higher expectations than possibilities. Painting is an act of faith and patience. Faith in the fact that the painting, which can cause so much difficulty to paint that sometimes you feel like covering the whole canvas in white and starting over, will in fact be beautiful. Don't stop painting your picture, because everyone has their own story to paint".


Photo: © Jasielski Dom Kultury and BARBARA JÓZEFOWICZ

Video with autor´s artworks: BARBARA JÓZEFOWICZ, edition by Naif Art Studio NY

Interview was in english. Free translation into slovak language: NAIVA BRATISLAVA