Elżbieta W. Kaleta was born, raised, and educated in Kraków, Poland. She earned a Ph.D. in biology and worked in research, also finding time to do scientific illustrations. In 1981, she came to the United States for postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School and later settled with her family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When her son’s illness forced her to stay at home, making art become her therapy and source of income.
Elżbieta creates several kinds of designs:· single color scissor paper cutouts attached to a museum board or backgrounds composed of different art papers
· multicolored paper cutouts in which basic shapes are decorated by the application of several layers of smaller cutouts to achieve vibrant color effects
· juxtaposition of graphic paper cutouts with collage backgrounds involving the use of different hand made papers, fabrics, embroidery, thread and small objects.
Most of the paper cutouts are cut freehand with scissors. Her subject matter originates from her life experiences, beliefs, passions and vivid imagination. Elżbieta’s love of nature is visible in her bright, fanciful folk art designs brimming with fantastic flowers, birds, and animals. Her art often raises spiritual and environmental issues and reminds us about importance of love, kindness, compassion, and friendship. Using the same techniques mastered for Polish traditional designs, she has developed her own vision of the Southwest spirit and captured it in her unique medium.
Elżbieta has devoted hundreds of hours to classes and demonstrations in schools, senior citizens’ centers and museums. Her art remains in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the world. She also does special commissions and public art projects. She has been awarded grants from the New Mexico Arts Division’s Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program five times.