Mikołaj Malesza, born in 1954, is a Polish artist who works primarily with paint but also explores sculpture and scenography.
Malesza spent his childhood living on the edge of the Knyszyn Forest in North Eastern Poland and had to cross through the forest everyday in order to get to school. These long journeys through the forest have formed some of his earliest and fondest memories. His formative years have hugely influenced his paintings; the eerie natural world, the importance of animals, an orthodox upbringing and the characteristics of living among a tight-knit rural community can all be seen in his painting aesthetic.
Malesza is inspired by various art historical movements such as Surrealism, Realism, Abstraction and Naive Art. The work explores his own relationship to the natural world and is often presented like a menagerie of humans and real and imagined animals. This is a visualisation of Malesza’s interior world which he translates onto the canvas.
Malesza has presented his work in over forty solo exhibitions in art institutions across Poland and has shown in group exhibitions in Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Austria among others. In 2010, Malesza was awarded a silver medal by the Polish Ministry of Culture for his cultural contributions.
2016 The award granted by the Director of the Mazovia Institute of Culture in the competition „Konfrontacje Sztuki” („Art confrontations”), Test Gallery, – Warsaw, Pologne
2013 The Henryk Award granted by the Association of Polish Stage Artists– Warsaw, Pologne
2010 The silver Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis, awarded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage– Warsaw, Pologne
2007 The first and the fourth prize in the competition “The Painting and Sculpture of the Season in Warsaw"– Warsaw, Pologne
2007 Honourable mention in the competition “The Painting and Sculpture of the Year in Warsaw”– Warsaw, Pologne
2007 Two honourable mentions in the competition “The Painting and Sculpture of the Season in Warsaw"– Warsaw, Pologne
2004 The Talens Award– Warsaw, Pologne
2002 Honourable mention for the scenography of “The Sacrifice of Wilgefortis” of the Wierszalin Theatre directed by P. Tomaszuk at the International Puppet Theatre Festival in Toruń– Toruń, Pologne
2002 he award in the field of scenography at the International Festival of Visual Arts “Animacje” in Bielsko-Biała– Bielsko-Biała, Pologne
1998 The award for the scenography of “Tales from the Kingdom of Lailonia” by L. Kołakowski at the National Competition of Polish Contemporary Art– Warsaw, Pologne
1997 The first prize for the scenography of “The Physician” (pl. “Medyk”) by P. Tomaszuk at the 17th National Festival of Puppet Theatres in Opole– Opole, Pologne
1996 The first prize for the scenography of “The Physician” (pl. “Medyk”) and “The Dimwit” (pl. “Głup”) by P. Tomaszuk at the 3rd Puppet Theatre Festival in Toruń– Toruń, Pologne
1995 The second prize for the scenography of “The Giant” (pl. “Olbrzym”) by P. Dorin at the 17th National Festival of Puppet Theatres in Opole– Opole, Pologne
1991 The first prize for the scenography of “Roll-a-Pea” (pl. “Turlajgroszek”) by P. Tomaszuk and T. Słobodzianek and for “John the Mysterious" (pl. “Jan Tajemnik") at the 15th National Festival of Puppet Theatres in Opole– Opole, Pologne
1987 The third prize at the 12th J. Spychalski National Painting Competition in Poznań– Poznań, Pologne
1984 The second prize at the 37th National Winter Art Salon in Radom– Radom, Pologne