Festival artist of the year: Karolina Monika Miszczuk

    Karolina and Svein-Egil

    This year's festival artist at Galleri GÁLSÁ is Karolina Monika Miszczuk. The exhibition opens with bubbles and a concert with Len Hansen on Thursday 3 August 20.00.

    Karolina Monika Miszczuk is a visual artist of Polish origin living in Malangen in Troms. Born and raised in the county of Silesia, studied textiles at art college in Lublin 2001-2007 and visual arts at the art department at Maria Curie Sklodowska University (UMCS) 2007-2013. 

    In the summer of 2013 she hitchhiked across Norway and in 2014 she moved to Tromsø. Karolina first got to know Karlsøya quite by accident in 2014 and has participated in many different activities there since then.

    Karolina herself tells...

    I remember well when in 2009, the first time in Tromsø, I took the mountain lift up to Fløya and looked down on the city. Appropriately large, and containing everything you need, as well as appropriately small to be cozy "Here I will stay one day" I said to the family who were with me at the top. I don't think anyone took me very seriously, but five years later I was living in Tromsø.

    That's how it was with Karlsøya too — love at first sight. I needed accommodation in Tromsø, so I asked for it on Couchsurfing. I was offered to come to the "hippie island" for the weekend and work a bit with the festival that is coming up in a few weeks. I was on Karlsøya every weekend since then, also after the festival. After the summer I moved to Ringvassøya, and after a year there I lived on Karlsøya for a year. It is very instructive to survive the whole year (including the entire northern Norwegian winter) around a small island with two ferries a day in order to have an understanding of what Karlsøya is and what life here looks like.

    I was lucky enough to exhibit at Galleri Carlsø in 2015, first with a solo exhibition, and then during the Karlsøy Festival, in 2016 at a collective exhibition during the festival, and at the 2020 festival I shared Galleri Carlsø with a great exhibition with the wonderful Bjørn Elvenes. In November 2022 I had a solo exhibition on Karlsøya in Galleri Carlsø, which has changed its name to Galleri Galsa.

    This year, for the first time, I have the honor of becoming a Festival Artist. I am really looking forward to exhibiting in a place that is such an important place for me and for such a large audience. This year's exhibition will be a collection of my thoughts and memories, reflections and impressions of the Karlsø Festival and Karlsøya itself over the past nine years. 

    Painting by Sandvika
    One of the paintings shown at the festival exhibition at Galleri GÁLSÁ. The motif is from Sandvika on Karlsøya

    After my studies, I was quite focused on portraits in acrylic and thought that it was my main form of expression. Unfortunately, after a heavily understaffed trip on the Barents Sea with a crab boat I worked on since 2017, I injured both wrists in 2019, which has made it very difficult to use a brush in the same way as before. For the next three years, I experimented with several different techniques that did not require so much precision and accuracy.

    Now after three operations on my wrists, much of my flexibility has returned and I have found my own technique which is mostly related to batik.

    I am very much looking forward to exhibiting photos in the new/old technique at Karlsøyfestivalen 2023.

    Since I moved to Norway and until 2022 I didn't have many exhibitions apart from Galleri Galsa, but 2023 brought me many wonderful opportunities. In March I was a festival artist at the Vesterålen Skreifestival, in August it is the Karlsøy Festival and on the second weekend of September I will show my Nyksund pictures at Storytelling Day in Nyksund itself. Not least, during August I will open the cafe next to my studio in the old community center in Nordby in Malangen, where you can buy coffee and freshly baked waffles - and get to see and order photos and have a nice chat with me. 🙂

    I wish everyone a warm welcome to my exhibition and to the Karlsøy Festival!

    Photo: Anette Johannson