Monika Kulesza


Originally from the Silesia region of Poland, Monika Kulesza is now living in Canada on the Atlantic coast overlooking the ocean. The revolution of 1989 in Eastern Europe caused Monika and her family to seek refuge in central Italy before immigrating to Canada. Her work engages topics of identity, normative femininity, dislocation, body politics, otherness and the culture of pathological medicine. Monika uses digital media, illustration, photography and communication design as her primary tools and methods.

Completing her Bachelor Honours Degree in Graphic Design at NSCAD University, Canada with acceptance to Akademia Sztuk Pięknych im. Jana Matejki, Poland, Monika went on to a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Media at Donau-Universität Krems, Austria. She is currently commencing her studies in the practice-based PhD program, Transart Institute and Plymouth University, UK. Monika also teaches and works as a senior media technician at NSCAD University.

Research Interests
My key interests relate to the advancement and engagement of the immigrant gaze in practice-based art research. I intend to use cross-media typographic experimentation via the printed and digital page, time-based typography and animation to explore the function of typographic forms in the production and consumption of meaning. In my view typographic experimentation can make visible the conditioned systems of power that effectively engage the formation of conceptualized identity. We make type forms into objects of meaning, as you are doing now, by looking through the abstract word forms and assigning meaning instinctually, forming a conceptualized thought or mental image. Awareness of this repetitive conditioning exposes the methods present in the construction of collective conceptual performative identities. We engage and re-engage in a process that objectifies self into a symptom of a broader social construct.

My own first hand account of the immigrant experience, dislocation and fractured cultural identity serves as an underlying force for exploring and making. I want to examine how culture and social normative systems propagate the hidden narratives that obfuscate a deeper understanding of the entanglement of identity as self.

Art that influenced me most originated from the Polish feminist conceptual avant-garde movement of the 1960’s, Ewa Partum, was at the forefront of Polish conceptualism, experimental action art and visual poetry. Magdalena Abakanowich and her Abakans series spoke to a deeper collective memory of trauma.
Writings of Friedan, Butler, Hanisch, Berger, Foucault, Scruton, Vanier and Tolle offered great inspiration and insight. Most of my research resides in philosophy, feminist theory, graphic design theory, semiotics and psycholinguistics however typographic conceptual theory, beyond legibility and formal typographic practices will remain central.