Nikifor’s history is charged with mystery. Nothing is known about his father. His mother was supposedly a domestic servant or a beggar or a prostitute. She was deaf-and-dumb and Nikifor suffered from the same affliction. We do not know why Nikifor decided to call himself Epifan Drowniak - the Polish government would give him later another legal name in connection with his place of birth : Krynicki. After the death of his mother, Nikifor wandered the streets of Krynica, a tourist resort, and survived by selling his drawings. The local inhabitants were fond of him and took care of him. He seems to have begun drawing at the age of thirteen, using all kinds of media : wrapping paper, scraps of cardboard, flattened cigarette-boxes, pages of school notebooks, etc. His themes are the churches, railway stations or the streets. In the thirties, his works began to circulate among Polish artists, then throughout Europe.
SEE ALSO :
Wolanin, Zbigniew. Nikifor. Olszanica : Bosz, 2000.