Beata Rojek – Personal Iconography – Unveiling stories through the drawing

Šopa Gallery / Košice Artist in Residence, Hlavná 40, Košice 10.12.2023 10.00 - 15.00

“Abortion has been, is and always will be here. It may not be legal, it may not be done in safe conditions, but people with unwanted pregnancies will keep having the procedure (…). Regardless of repressive orders, culture of power, unjust social agreements and harmful regulations, we have made, are making and will continue to make our own choices. Fortunately, despite the social taboo on abortion, acting against the stigma, more and more people are willing to share their experiences (…) “*. Through various linguistic means, they are breaking down the wall of silence.

In 2021, a comic book Opowieści aborcyjne (Abortion Stories) was published in Poland, co-authored and illustrated by artist Beata Rojek: “Each medium allows us to capture and reflect on an experience in a slightly different way. While working on the comic, I realised that for me visual arts play a crucial role in the dialogue on abortion, aside from words, which have their own, specific gravity. Images offer the opportunity to enter the dialogue in a non-verbal, direct and almost bodily way.”

As part of the artist’s two-month residency, we invite you to a drawing workshop, where together we will try to break the abortion taboo. The workshop will take place in two parts. The first part will consist of a shortened version of a meditation exercise – a dyad – which will allow us to ground ourselves and delve deeper into the subsequent creative process. The second part of the workshop will be devoted to conversations, working with the image and attempts to record it.

This workshop is for women** who are open to processing the topic of abortion within their individual experience or in the broader, cultural context. Participation in the event is an opportunity for independent work, but also for exchange and shared dialogue. It is a space to become stronger and to co-create an open group process.

We invite women who are dedicated to drawing or are open to working with this medium.
Workshop time: approximately 5 – 6 hours (with a break).
Materials: available on-site, but we encourage you to bring your favorite drawing tool.
Participation in the event is free of charge
Registration is required by email to, max for 4 people.
Language: Slovak, English, Polish (interpreter support available).

Important! This workshop is not a form of therapy, but due to working with a very sensitive topic, it may evoke different kinds of emotions. We invite people who are aware of this and are ready to share their experiences. The principles of confidentiality, truthfulness and kindness apply. During the workshop, each person goes through the journey led by their own sensitivity, deciding where their boundaries are and what they want to share. The artist’s contribution is to provide tools and suggest a method for visual recording of ideas and guide on how to further work with the resulting image.

*Excerpt from the curatorial text for the exhibition “W wczorajsze sny tkają ruiny jutrzejszych świątyń” (Yesterday’s dreams weave the ruins of tomorrow’s temples)

** persons with uterus, with social experience as women

Dyadic communication – often called Westerners’ Meditation – is a method that uses the natural tendency of representatives of the Western culture to talk (to create concepts, intellectualize, etc.) in order to quiet the “chattering mind” and experience the Silence that they experience as Existence, Presence, their own true Nature in a natural and spontaneous way.

Dyads are also a way to deepen the practice of Mindfulness, especially in the context of relationships and communication with other people. This method helps to strengthen and bring into relationships with people and the world a concept referred to as Consciousness without Prejudice.

Since Charles Berner developed the practice of Communication or Relating Dyad in California in 1968, dyads – due to their effectiveness – have become a valued method of personal development, especially in the transpersonal psychology stream. Its essence is that over the course of several hours, sometimes several days of group practice, the participants, sitting in pairs, encourage each other to explore together predetermined topics – koans – and by “immersing” themselves in the process of contemplating them, gradually find their own Truth about the subject.

Beata Rojek, born in 1985 is a visual artist who graduated from the Wrocław Academy of Fine Arts.
She specializes in painting, drawing, comics and other forms of transferring thoughts into images.
She has a recognizable, vivid style, ranging from nostalgic abstraction to blunt street art patterns. She was nominated twice for the Wrocław Gazeta Wyborcza WARTO award and received a scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in 2012.

Over the years of creative work, the artist has developed the ability to simultaneously operate on various registers of consciousness – intellectual, sensual and emotional. Her works catch the eye with their ludic bluntness, although they are not meant for quick consumption. Rojek likes to tell stories, therefore her works are full of narratives, inspired by European literature, fairy tales, ancient legends, theological writings, pagan beliefs, but they interlace with personal stories coming from the sensitive artist.

The residency program is supported using public funding by the Slovak Arts Council. Slovak Arts Council is the main partner of this project.

The project is also supported by City Košice.