Underwater artivist, Ph.D. in art history.

Ewelina Jarosz

I became a mermaid just like that. I realized I don't need to fit the academic frames.


Let me know what's on your mind

Ewelina Jarosz, underwater artivist, Ph.D. in art history, in 2019 affiliated faculty of the American Studies Center, University of Warsaw, 2011-2019 affiliated faculty at the University of the Arts, Poznań, 2013-2016, affiliated faculty at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk; co-founder of RTV Magazine on art and activism and editor for its two initial issues, authoress for Kultura u Podstaw on independent spaces for art and bottom-up activist art in Poznan. I also published for Czas Kultury, Szum, Springerin, Contemporary Links, Femka, Fragile.  

2018I don't need to fit the academic frames

I became a mermaid just like that. After the defense of my Ph.D. thesis on modern American art at Adam Tryton University in Poland, I realized I don't need to fit the academic frames. Moreover, for the first time with a truly emancipatory agency, I said "uhmmm", and realized that standards and conventions of knowledge constantly need to be extended, not only due to the obligatory heteronormative but also to the harmful, anthropocentric paradigm. I met Zofia nierodzińska, an artist and activist when she asked me to write a text about Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephen's exhibition she curated and felt in love with her during the protest dedicated to the defense of women rights in Poland. With a golden glamour diadem on her head, she remained a mermaid to me. Since then we become more and more mermaids, enjoying glittering tails, fins, and scales in many contexts related to art, politics of identity, cultural institutions and climate protests. So far, until the end of this year, when the other mermaid drifted away, I became passionate about the projects related to protecting the waters.

2019I don't need to fit the academic frames

My love for big bathtubs has become stronger. 'Vast as it is', as Bill McKibben explains, 'it’s not so big that we can’t screw it up'. After reading oceanography, biology and marine life books, I started to consider involvement in the underwater artivism with professional equipment. Having the opportunity to travel to Northern Norway wilderness, I associated with animal critters more than humans. The journey to a country, which nearly half of the territory is occupied by the water and the water is relatively clean, was an eye-opener for different modalities of sensing the world. However, I also realized there how easily one can be misled by the apparent orders of things. Along with studying the contradictions of Norwegian hydro policy, I researched dark facts about human impact on the Arctic Ocean and North and Barent Sea: drilling the seabed for oil, warming, melting glaciers in Svalbard, a rising level of seawater, extinguishing of fish species caused by industrial fishing, among others. Eventually, this healing trip opened up a possibility for me to get PADI certification.