Currently lives and works in: Lublin (Poland)
Filip Kijowski is an interdisciplinary, nomadic, and queer performance artist and teacher. He works with choreography, movement, text, and community building. When facilitating workshops, his practice addresses the norms that govern how we live and experience our queer bodies, and how society ascribes meaning to different kinds of self-expression. Improvisation practices are a fundamental approach to his process. His performances usually explore queer identity, by looking at connections between personal and shared experiences.
He achieved a BA degree in Dance Studies from the University of Roehampton, graduating with The Andy Hardy Prize. He previously trained at The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. A nomadic need allowed him to participate in projects in Thailand, South Korea, Bangladesh, Norway, Prague, Italy, and others. Filip was a visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins, Roehampton University, Dhaka University, ASP Gdańsk, and Charles University.
He currently lives in Lublin, where in collaboration with Galeria Labirynt, he founded Biblioteka Azyl – an LGBTQ+ Library and community centre. It is currently part of The Europe Challenge, a program facilitated by the European Cultural Foundation. During the project, we are working towards providing creative encouragement, support, and opportunities for young LGBTQ+ people living locally.
Practice: Performance artist, choreographer, teacher, queer community
Areas of interest:
- Performance Art
- Queer culture
- Dance & Choreography
- Contact Improvisation
Type: Community engagement project
Biblioteka Azyl is an LGBTQ+ library and community centre in Lublin, Poland. It was founded by Filip during a one-year residency at Galeria Labirynt, curated by Waldemar Tatarczuk. The library was established out of the need to create access to reliable knowledge and literature in the area, which is not provided by schools or public libraries. The book collection was created in collaboration with authors, publishers, bookshops, and friends from all over the world. Currently, the library has over 900 books that have been donated completely free of charge, and the number is constantly growing. Our current space is open to the public, where each person can pick up and read a book, listen to the audiobooks, gain knowledge or simply hang out.
Our library intends to constantly respond to the surrounding reality. The library’s program is accompanied by meetings with authors, a queer book club, circle meetings, and various workshops.
What inspires you as an artist? As an artist, I find inspiration from multiple sources. Sometimes its essence hides behind the unexpected acts of kindness. A simple smile, a hug, a soft word, or a shared dance. Being a nomadic artist, I’ve experienced seeing inspiration scattered around the globe. Maya Angelou put it perfectly in my understanding, “Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.”
Other things that inspire me:
- Freelance artists who continue their careers, trusting the unknown future ahead
- My grandmother and mother
- Queer communities around the world
- Traveling and resting
- Spending time with friends
- Dance Education
- Contact Improvisation
When facilitating workshops, I’m inspired by observing a group of people or individuals engaging in an activity together for the first time, while finding joy, interest, and flow. Witnessing these small, extraordinary moments is a privilege.
What do you think is the purpose of art? I think the purpose of art is to connect people and create communities. These connections could resemble how the sun and water act for fresh seeds in the soil. Engaging in art practices and being part of a community can be a temporary cure stronger than any chemical drug or medical equipment created by mankind. Art for me has always had a healing acceptance. Both making and participating as an audience member. Finally, I think art practices are educational tools, which help us to understand the world we share.