Marta Grabowska is an art historian and independent curator with an interest in intersectional feminism. Originally trained in creative photography, Marta studied curating at Central Saint Martins, University of Arts London, and NODE Centre for Curatorial Studies in Berlin. She received her BA in History of Art and Curating from Birkbeck, University of London, where she researched Slow Art.
Marta is a co-founder of two grassroots London-based art organisations, ONE Project (2016-2020) and Red Zenith Collective (2020), a platform for women and non-binary creatives with a link to Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Since 2019 she has been working as a producer and talent scout at artBLAB London. In 2021 she joined the Muzeum HERstorii Sztuki in Kraków, Poland as Chief Curator.
Marta curated exhibitions, residencies, and events in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, China, the USA, and online. She is passionate about audience engagement, accessibility, and diversity and is a scriptwriter and provider of Art Meditations.
Slow Art, being a quiet form of activism that makes art more accessible to broader audiences, is at the core of my curatorial practices. I strongly believe in the idea of a gallery as an experience, rather than a place; not an overwhelming or intimidating but a safe and liberating space, where an encounter with art and exchange of emotions takes place.
Muzeum HERstorii Sztuki s a civic initiative established to plan, seek local government approval and create the first in Poland public institution championing the art and history of women.
So far I have been the main point of contact for young female artists and creatives and helped built a broad network of contacts, in Poland and internationally. I held the post of the editor-in-chief of the January issue of the herstory of art zine "Ariadna" on the subject of Abstract Art and produced a broad array of satellite events during an international art and literature conference "Czas Pozytywistek" that we have produced with Jagiellonian University and Pedagogical University.
In April of 2022, I produced a program of events for the occasion of the international festival of Slow Art - Slow Art Day 2022. Additionally, I have co-authored a publication for the National Musem in Kraków - "Ćwiczenia an uważne patrzenie", a slow-looking guide, based on the artwork of Maria Pinińska-Bereś. The Muzeum HERstorii Sztuki was the only Polish institution that took part :)
CENTRALA GALLERY in Birmingham, UK
The W A (Y) S T (O) E D F R E E D O M exhibition showcases a portfolio of paintings created by a London-based Polish artist Małgorzata Drohomirecka, in which the artist sets out to revisit the story of Polonia, the 19th century personification of a Polish nation fighting for its sovereignty.
While male artists portrayed themselves as thinkers or warriors, women gazing from the canvases of iconic historical paintings were often depicted as frail, incapacitated, and reduced to performative objects. The independence for Poland arrived in 1918, after over a century of foreign occupation, but what about Polonia?
In her painterly collages, Drohomirecka questions the extent to which the 19th-century image of women, created by the patriarchal structures that objectified female bodies as symbols of a ‘broken’ nation and embodiment of its martyrdom, influences their position in the realms of art and society today.
Juxtaposing elements extracted from historical paintings with pop culture references, stock images and kitsch aesthetic, Drohomirecka reimagines Polonia’s story from the perspective of both, the woman in the picture and a female artist who fights to regain control over the autonomy of her own existence. This newly formed herstory constitutes a possible blueprint for alternative versions of womanhood, representation, empowerment, self-determination, and ultimately, freedom.
Using subversive visual language, the artist sends Polonia and other women on a journey to heal the intergenerational trauma caused by patriarchy; simultaneously critiquing the establishment and questioning the status quo. What has actually changed since Wyspiański and Matejko created their allegorical visions of women? Has the political and cultural narrative around the female body and femininity shifted at all?
The Enjoy Museum, Beijing, China
"Immunity·Geography" attempts to reflect on the confrontations between bodies and objects, self and others, identification and disidentification, presence and absence in the current climate. We invited 13 artists from different geographical and cultural climates, space which the exhibition occupies will become the "passage", a space of transition and connection, where we almost simultaneously face the direct cultural and geographical differences with similar physical experience. We would like to draw the audience's attention to the ideas of transition from the adaptation to inhabitation, such as the body versus the symbol, embodied and disembodied experience within the natural and the digital spheres of human existence.
In the exhibition, we discuss how to attempt to create art in the process of "diffusion", "concealment" and "avoidance". In the course of the exhibition, we ask, inter alia, the following questions: Can body, spirit and the digital symbol live in synergy?; Can we build herd immunity online?; Do we need others and nature to thrive?; How did artists coming from different geographic regions respond to the global crisis of immunity?
Co-curated by Shiying Wang, Duruo Zheng, and David Lisbon
Red Zenith Collective is a dedicated platform for empowering and supporting women, female-identifying and non-binary creatives from Eastern and Central Europe, with events to encourage collaborative learning and promote cultural understanding. It was founded by Marta Grabowska, an independent Polish curator and Zula Rabikowska, Polish photographer.
artBLAB runs a series of laid-back lectures about art and its whereabouts. At the artBLAB events - in-person and online - artists, and art professionals representing various disciplines come together to celebrate creativity. We present both emerging and well-established creatives. We love networking - our event connects artists and art aficionados that wouldn't otherwise meet.
artBLAB also means poetry, in every shape and form. From poetry readings, exhibitions, and zoom meet-ups, to our new baby, Beyond Text Poetry Festival in Folkestone.
soon, artBLAB will also run a series of art meditations, that combines art history class, Slow Art looking exercises, and traditional meditation and mindfulness techniques.
2016 - 2020
ONE Project is a creative duo of Marta Grabowska and Magdalena Zoledz, who share a passion for an innovative approach to presenting and perceiving art, championing and researching the notion of Slow Art. The main purpose of the project is to exhibit one artwork and by this curatorial practice to induce contemplation, build a deeper relationship between the art object and the audience, and to encourage some new ways of seeing.
Producer of Speed Networking for Creatives
2014 - 2015
This cycle of events was designed by Marta to bring together emerging and established creatives. The main aim of the Speed Networking for Creatives was to spark collaboration between artists and art lovers working in different areas of the creative industry, share a conversation in the friendliest and most comfy place there is- the extension of your living-room - Ziferblat London.
Gallery Assistant and PA at Karin Janssen Project Space
Karin Janssen Project Space in Hackney was an artist-run gallery that promoted local and like-minded artists. I joined the gallery for the occasion of an international exhibition, including 60 artists based both in the UK and the Netherlands, titled Chinese Whispers.
Feminist Art and Exhibitions: History and Challenges
March - April 2021
Node Centre for Curatorial Studies, Berlin, Germany.
This course looks at how feminist thinking has influenced the arts since the 1960s, both in Western as well as selected non-Western contexts. Presenting the foundational feminist theories that furthered the radicalization of female artists and trace their manifestation in the visual arts. Due to its strong political content and often taboo-breaking visuality, feminist art continues to present its own set of challenges to curators and museum professionals. The course introduces students to the most important exhibitions of feminist art and discuss their strategies, premises, and criticism. In addition, the course presents curatorial practices and exhibition formats that follow feminist premises.
Contemporary Art Theories
MoMA, NYC, US.
This course addressed the question what is contemporary art? by exploring a variety of perspectives on what art can do today, who makes it, what it is made of, and why it takes so many forms. Based on MoMA's collection.
History of Art with Curating
BA at Birkbeck, University of London, UK.
Main field of research: Slow Art and the ideas of slow looking.
Secondary interest: Modernism and Young Poland movement, Gesamtkunstwerk - total work of art.
Central Saint Martins, UAL, London, UK.
Curatorial course led by Sarah Spakres.
History of Art and Architecture
Certificate of Higher Education at Birkbeck, University of London, UK.
ND at Krakow School of Art and Fashion Design, Krakow, Poland. Specialisation: Staged Photography and set design.
Working Class Creatives
British Art Network