Kravitz Contemporary is pleased to present the second part of its annual Residency Exhibition, which opens 25 November in East Sussex. Figure This is produced in close collaboration with UK-based patrons of the arts, the Kowitz Family, and the Noldor Art Residency in Ghana.

The Figure This Residency Exhibition, which spotlights non-Western artists from underrepresented backgrounds, will open at Bridge Point Studios in Rye, East Sussex. Born of a mutual interest to serve, support and platform emerging young artists, the residency offers a platform for international artists with a particular emphasis on a unique cross section of Eastern European and Western African talents.

The artists were selected by Joseph Awuah-Darko (Founder of Noldor Artist Residency, Ghana), David Kowitz, a patron of the programme, and gallerist Sarah Kravitz and are each informed and indebted to the tradition of figurative painting but also visibly fraternise with its subversion. The exhibition serves as a testament to Sarah Kravitz’s core ethos, diversifying the London-centric arts scene, encouraging creative dialogue between regions and truly championing individual and cultural expression through art.

Figure This features several exciting young female painters from the flourishing contemporary art scene in Sarah Kravitz’s native Poland.

“For many years, the Polish art scene conformed to traditional patriarchal norms. Today, however, it reflects the country’s broader transformation, with women artists emerging as market leaders. Their prominence is not just reshaping the art market but is also a signifier of Poland’s overall progression towards greater gender equality. This burgeoning realm, where women’s creative independence is honoured, is receiving enthusiastic accolades from key cultural institutions and observers across the region; heralding a new era of inclusivity and recognition.”

Joseph Awuah-Darko, Founder of Noldor adds, “Artists from Sub-Saharan West Africa are a meaningful part of the dialogue of re-imagined narratives and are contributing towards evolving the single story surrounding the continent and its people.”


Annan Affotey (b. 1985) is a Ghanaian artist navigating black identity through portraiture. His paintings focus on individuals of colour from his personal life or strangers he meets through social media. Each portrait highlights the nuances of facial expression and examines what goes beyond the surface level. Affotey works to bring everyday experiences into intensely colourful, textured and expressive compositions, utilising modelling paste over pencil sketches which create his signature waves and ridges before finally applying paint. Affotey is deeply influenced by the presence of strong women during his childhood and the diversity of having lived in Ghana, Europe and the United States. He has exhibited internationally including his solo show at De Buck Gallery, New York earlier this year.

Olatubosun Samson Rotimi, is a visual artist born and brought up in Nigeria. He works with the use of oil paint, acrylic, and repurposed old photographs on canvas. His paintings are a portrayal of optimism, his subjects are representational to the fact that we are all sojourners trying to get something out of a life filled with uncertainties, adversities, and as well positivity. The use of old photos in his works is evident in his upbringing of being raised by Aged parents, Old photos (photographed as far back as the 1960s) hung on the walls of the sitting room and other old household gadgets are what he grew up accustomed to. The old photo plays a significant role in connecting us (him) to the past, also to people, places, and feelings giving him a feeling of being an active part of the occurrence despite not being there when those moments were created and captured.

As a believer in artistic freedom which revolves around the axis of society, culture, and politics, Nahom Teklehaimanot’s (b. 1991) works are an attempt to provide a voice to the unheard. He explores diverse genres of paintings with inspiration from his surroundings. Born in Addis Ababa, the self-taught artist was heavily influenced by the basic creativity of children’s songs and lullabies. Spending part of his formative years in Eritrea also impacted his artistry. His art has led him to solo, and group shows with notable galleries within and beyond Africa including a group show with Chilli Art Project (England), Circle Art Gallery (Kenya) and Lela Gallery (Ethiopia).

A rising art world star, Julia Kowalska (b. 1998) is a 25-year-old visual artist based in Warsaw. Her work references human existence and relationships, in which the artist seeks moments lined with ambiguity and explores the ambivalent nature of communing with the body. The enigmatic and ephemeral character of dream perception embeds the artist’s work in a sense of repetitive disorientation, while the ambivalent gestures and expression of the depicted figures sensually narrate the complexity of mutual relationships based on emotional dependencies and divergent affections.

Aniela Preston (b. 1998) graduated from her Fine Art BA at the University of Leeds after completing her Foundation Diploma at Central Saint Martins. Her paintings blend the contemporary with the classical in a hyper-realist style, offering both quiet glimpses into intimate moments, and gesturing towards wider societal, political and environmental issues. Her paintings therefore not only provide societal critique but draw on the concept of traditional formality that mythologizes the mundane. She experiments predominantly with colour palettes, which she selects to add to the ambivalence of the scenes they portray. Painting predominantly in acrylic, she hopes her paintings are not just aesthetic objects, but rather invitations to engage upon the impact with which our individual actions have upon the natural world.

Helena Stiasny (b. 1997) is a 26-year-old painter, photographer and illustrator from Warsaw interested in the status of woman in the patriarchal society. She uses self-portraits as a medium to challenge the subject–object antinomy characteristic for the representation of female. Exploring the themes of confrontation with the body from the borderline of girlhood and womanhood, her works are the manifestations of psychical states referring to the images well known from the art history and the pop culture as well as to the archetypal images which allow her to mythologize the intimate life of subjective femininity. Inspired by inspired by dreams, memories, ancient myths and beliefs her work has been profiled in Vogue, who call Stiasny “both the creator and the heroine” of her paintings.

Jakub Czyż (b. 1991) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. Today, he resides in Warsaw. While best known for his evocative drawings, he is a multi-disciplinary artist working often with sound installation & performance. At the heart of Jakub’s artistic exploration lies a deep contemplation of the human condition and an insightful inquiry into the theory of societal collapse. Through his works, he seeks to capture the essence of our era, presenting images that resonate with the fragmented realities we face today. Czyz’s pieces often evoke contemporary anxieties, reflecting them through brutal and grotesque portrayals. In doing so, he offers a poignant commentary on the challenges and complexities of modern life.

Bulgarian-born, London-based painter and draughtsman Preslav Kostov’s (b. 1998) work engages with the intricacies of identity and the immigrant experience. Employing the technique of automatism, Kostov’s paintings emerge from a cumulative process of self-questioning. Kostov’s imposing compositions dialogue with the form and palette of the old master painters, presenting imagined scenes of discovered narratives situated within a liminal realm. His works speak to the enduring reality of human experience while rejecting association with any particular moment in time. Presenting anonymous ghost-like figures unconnected to any singular narrative or experience, his subjects inhabit a realm untethered from worldly possessions or cultural signifiers. The tangled forms, with their alluring asymmetry, evoke a melancholic isolation inviting the viewer to contemplate the complexities of the human condition.

Edna Baud – (born 1991) deals with painting and sound. She uses motifs present in the avantgarde tradition – a snapshot of prosaic events or a “portrait” approach to everyday objects. She interweaves quotes from pop culture with fragments of symbolism, referring to 20th century philosophy and cultural history. As a result, she creates semiotically “dense” images, full of multi-threaded allegories on the canvas of connections of forgotten meanings. She lives in Lublin, Poland.

Figure This is supported by The Kowitz Family, who are passionate supporters of emerging contemporary art as well as keepers of the extraordinary private art collection at Fairlight Hall, which showcases 500 years of art history. The preview event on 25 November will include a special private tour of the Kowitz art collection at Fairlight Hall, which has not previously been opened for visits.

Image: Aniela Preston, There is no justice, 2023