"You don’t want to reveal everything about your family, and you don’t want to hold back too much either. There needs to be something for the audience or for the viewer."


Artist and PhD candidate at the Australian National University

Marzena Wasikowska is a quietly methodical and determined photomedia artist experimenting and exploring ideas of myth and the environment. She works with the landscape as a character and aims to draw her viewers in to experience the ecological sublime. 

Her work spans portraits, waterscapes and the built environment and her more recent bodies of work include beautiful representations in her series Earth’s Self Correcting Systems: Gold Coast and Alaska, Journey Reluctantly Taken and Forensic Landscapes.

Negotiating the Family Portrait has been another ongoing series of hers, which studies the history, identity and myth in her own family. Images from this series have won her a regular position as an exhibiting finalist in the annual National Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, which tours this exhibition through regional Australia. Her acclaimed 2021 entry is A Covid kind of day.

Her link to Poland has also been celebrated when was awarded a grant to return to her hometown of Szczecin, Poland resulting in the series, I Left Poland when I was 11 years old, which subsequently led to her being admitted as a member of the Polish Art Photographers’ Association.

She is currently a PhD candidate in Photography and Media Arts at the Australian National University enabling her to dive deeper into the theme of global warming through ecology research and field experiences presented in her provocative waterscapes.

  • Solo exhibitions from 2001 to 2021 include Journey Reluctantly Taken, Biosphere, New Work, Works, Portraits, Fragrant Sweat, Forensic Landscapes, Overtones-from a Journey to Poland, Landscapes, MW Photographs 
  • Group exhibitions from 2012 to 2021 across Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Germany, South Africa and the United States of America
  • Other key bodies of work include the series Negotiating the Family Portrait and I Left Poland when I was 11 years old
  • Public commissions include Canberra Hospital Isolation Room (2015), CAPO Grant (2016), University of Canberra Hospital (2018) and Canberra Hospital Birthing Suites (2019)
  • Work forming part of public collections – Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra Museum and Gallery CMAG, Albury Regional Gallery, Cowra Regional Gallery, Cowra Regional Gallery, Canberra Hospital and UC Rehabilitation Hospital and Artbank

    • National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP) at Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG) (2011, 2015, 2016, 2018 and again in 2021). 
    • Lensculture’s Critic’s Choice Award – entries come from photographers across 150 countries and industry experts select their top three personal favourites. This year you were selected by Joanna Milter (Director of Photography, The New Yorker) with “Negotiating the Family Portrait, A Covid Kind of Day” (2021)
    • Winning the artsACT grant, Marzena returned to Poland after 24 years to capture her childhood. It resulted in the series, I Left Poland when I was 11 years old (1998-2000), which was widely exhibited in Australia, Poland and Berlin
    • Admitted as a member of the Polish Art Photographers’ Association


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