Time to take off my Mask

Story by Kinga Chrzaszczewska A.K.A. Kinia Kik a professional award-winning artist with a BA Honours Degree in Mixed Media Fine Art completed in 2006, honoured with 1st place at the Festival of Fine Arts Workshops at “Wolski Days of Inspiration” by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

When we come into the world, we get enormous potential in the package, which, if used well and wisely, will facilitate our stay on this planet, and even make us happy. In my package I received, among other things, my passion for creation. Yes, I am a creator, as we all are. For as long as I can remember I have loved to create strange things, the first such memory is when I am sitting in my bedroom in Warsaw, I am 4 years old and I paint portraits of my family members who sit at the table on the occasion of some family event and drink vodka. They all had very pink faces on these portraits. As you can see. A child will not miss anything. Perhaps I can say that was the day when I begin my passion for masks.

I was born during the communism time in Poland, that is, a time of great hypocrisy and propaganda. As a child, I did not realize it, although today I know that children absorb everything like a sponge, without being aware of it. Luckily my parents didn’t read me Marx as my bed stories. They indulged me with a beautiful stories originating from folklore, which greatly stimulated my imagination. Television in the socialist bloc did not give us a lot of fairy tales, but there were fairy tales available on vinyl records. I loved to stay in my room and create while listening to fairy tales such as the Little Red Riding Hood or Rumcajs. I painted and made all kinds of things, including hair shampoo, which I later sold to my uncles, aunts and grandparents (I don’t think they ever used it). I had lovely parents. My father gave me a sense of security, and my mother, a very creative person, played the piano and wrote poems. She opened the world of art to me. I remember in my room on the wall she drew three large figures, women in floral dresses, I was hypnotized by it. She had a tremendous influence on my life and creativity, in both good and bad ways. Well, my childhood idyll did not last too long, because the times we lived in had an impact on my family. My mother developed addiction to alcohol and pharmacological drugs, and this situation had a huge impact on my life. Addiction is a disease of illusion and denial, I found out about it during my recovery over 11 years ago, when I started my process of getting sober. Today, for the first time, I am talking about it so openly to share my experience, and show that it is possible to come out of it primarily by working on myself. I also want to show where my interest for masks comes from, because I have no doubts that what happened in my life developed in me a fascination for masks and the history of their origin.

The history of Masks began thousands of years ago, used for ritual ceremonies during which priests communicated with the gods asking for protection and help in the fight against evil powers. Then later masks appear in higher cultures, e.g. in the ancient theatre, the actors put on tragic or comedy masks informing the viewer about the character and age of the character played. The mask became an integral part of the carnival. Its roots go back at least to the Middle Ages in Europe, especially those celebrated from winter to spring. Every year on the eve of the 40-day Lent, there was a great celebration; fasting time is a time to give up something you love in order to better understand suffering. However, there was something other than the mere need for fun or entertainment. Eyes full of joy, identity transformed by the alchemy of masks, and the illusion of being, nothing can resist the mad chaos, our orderly world is turned upside down. Kings become idiots, farmhands turn into kings, no barricades are able to protect the precious illusions called reality and morality, they explode the suppressed desires, human nature reveals itself in its full glory. The order of the world is falling apart, seized by a darkness in which evil spirits are lurking.

The masks are fascinating, at least for me. I was hiding behind them for most of my life. They appear in my collages, in paintings, sculptures and in my animations. In tranquility of my studio, I completely submit to the creative process, this divine power speaks through me and I listen. I explore materials, techniques and colours. It is fascinating for me that sometimes I have no idea what the end result will show. My inspiration is a palette of colours of my life, each day, every person I meet, my fascination for the art of other artists, as well as my knowledge and life experience. The times in which we live are also a colorful carnival, the world of manipulation and deception, masks stuck to the faces of these visible and invisible actors and their creators. You cannot complain about the lack of inspiration. In order to be free from the madness of this world, to enjoy this beautiful gift of life and the second chance I have received, I develop a wonderful divine consciousness (which I am, which we all are) and stand in the truth of my heart- because I feel and I am sure that the truth will set us free.

The last of my masks falls *

The last of my masks falls

Like yellow leaves

Is that supposed to be

The fall of life?

Man doesn’t want any more

Wasted strength

To pretend

The trees are naked

Man is naked

Sadness is beautiful

When you let it be

And the wind doesn’t shake the branches







photos of Kinia Kik by Angelika Siemieniuk

*poem by Pawel A Deszcz AKA Pawel A Kisza, Translated from Polish by Ildiko Rigney

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