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Joanna Staniszkis


  • born in 1944 in Poland
  • immigrated to Toronto, Ontario in 1967
  • Fine Arts Academy, Warsaw, Poland (1962-1964); Universidad Catolica, Lima, Peru (1965); studied, Art Institute of Chicago, Interior Design and Textile Design (1964-1967)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

In the early part of her career Joanna Staniszkis experimented with texture and handspun yarns and dyes, then her explorations evolved and she began focussing on form and construction methods combining her woven and unstructured fabric with plexiglass and netting. In 1987 Staniszkis was commissioned to produce a six panel tapestry representing Vancouver’s skyline. This work was woven out of hundreds of dyed silk ribbons, fabric which had been cut from an old cargo parachute. Recognized for her innovative and experimental contemporary textile production Joanna Staniszkis's art is nevertheless shaped and informed by her knowledge of traditional textile art and her interest in Oriental carpets and ancient Peruvian tunics. She is also influenced by the architectural forms of her native Poland, and has studied ancient weaving techniques on visits to Perus and Bolivia. As Elizabeth Johnson has commented: "The art of Joanna Staniszkis echoes the traditions which inspired it and brings their images forward in brilliant and forceful realizations. They are boldly contemporary statements, but reminiscent of other times and places" (1989). In 1989 the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology presented Translations of Tradition: Joanna Staniszkis' Recent Work, enabling the artist to pay homage to the textile art from the various cultures that stimulated her work. Staniszkis's works were exhibited alongside Uzbeki coats, Chinese robes, Chinese cross-stitch embroideries and ancient Peruvian textiles. As she wrote in the exhibition catalogue, "I am offering textiles which echo tradition--my own translations of tradition into a form which is contemporary . . . I am searching for a new form for traditional techniques. I am combining precious materials: silk combined with plexiglass, which looks like glass, like crystal; cross-stitch embroidery translated into computer-generated crosses of silk on plexiglass." Staniszkis returns to Poland regularly and has collaborated with Polish craft workers in the designing of fashions and textiles for the home. From 1969 to 1977 Staniszkis was a professor in the Design Department at the University of British Columbia and from 1977 to 1978 she was Acting Head of the Textile Department at the Ontario College of Art. She later resumed teaching at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Design. In 1981 Staniszkis received the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in recognition of contributions she made to the field of textile art.



1992 West Kootenay Art Centre, Castlegar, British Columbia


1991 Ontario Crafts Council Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Waikato Museum of Art, Hamilton, New Zealand


1989 Translations of Tradition: Joanna Staniszkis' Recent Work
University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, British Columbia


1988 Cartwright Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia


1979 Faculty Club, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia


1978 Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia


1976-74 Merton Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1973 Mido Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia


1972 Hangings
Merton Gallery, Toronto, Ontario



1992 Kyoto International Textile Exhibit
Kyoto, Japan


1992-76 International Tapestry Triennial
Lodz, Poland


1991 Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, British Columbia


1989 Master of Crafts
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Québec


1986 Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York


1983-81 Three Canadian Fibre Artists: Gregor, Rousseau-Vermette, Staniszkis
Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia; MUN Gallery, St. John, New Brunswick; Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario


1977-76 International Tapestry Exhibition
Jacques Baruch Gallery, Chicago; Vevey, Switzerland


1976 Tapestry Exhibition
Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario


1974-73 Textiles in 3D
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario (travelling)



1998 Terminal City Club, Vancouver, British Columbia


1995 The Loewen Group, Burnaby, British Columbia


1994 Delta Municipal Hall, Delta, British Columbia


1992 British Columbia Automobile Association, Burnaby, British Columbia


1991 Mississauga Hospital, Mississauga, Ontario


1990 Providence Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Owen Bird, Vancouver, British Columbia


Cockfield & Brown Advertising Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Montréal, Québec
Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto, Ontario
Toronto-Dominion Centre, Toronto, Ontario



Arnatt, Ray and Douglas Bentham, Elizabeth Berezowska, et al. Art Competitions: Athabasca University, Project One, Athabasca, Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta: Athabasca University, 1984.

Johnson, Elizabeth.  Translations of Tradition: Joanna Staniszkis' Recent Work. Vancouver, British Columbia: University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, 1989.

---. "Translations of Tradition: Joanna Staniszkis' recent work." Muse 7, no. 3 (Fall 1989): 30-31, 40-41.

Johnson, Jean and John E. Vollmer, Milrod Constantine, et al. Three Canadian Fibre Artists: Gregor, Rousseau-Vermette, Staniszkis. Windsor, Ontario: Art Gallery of Windsor, 1981.

Killam, Sherry. "From the boudoir to the battle field." Fiberarts 22 (Summer 1995): 50-51.

Langston, Laura, et al. "Masters of craft." Beautiful British Columbia Magazine 33, no. 4 (Winter 1991): 14-21.

Lightstone, Susan. "A place to call home (Immigrants who have made a contribution to Canada)." Ottawa Magazine 11, no. 8 (December 1991): 20-26.

Smith, Paul J., Joanna Staniszkis, and Jacques Anquetil. Québec/Ontario Crafts, 1979/80. Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Crafts Council, 1979.

Tuele, Nicholas. Bronfman Award Recipients from British Columbia and Their Commonwealth Colleagues. Victoria, British Columbia: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1994.


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