Nikifor was considered mentally disabled, illiterate, and he suffered from a severe speech and hearing impediment inherited from his mother. She was Lemko, an ethnic minority in Poland, and raised Nikifor in extreme poverty on her own. After her death during WWI, Nikifor began drawing and painting with materials around him such as scraps of paper, candy wrappers, and pencils. He often painted the streets of Poland, religious figures, and himself as a respected official, father, or bishop. Nikifor received recognition later in his life, created a countless amount of artwork, and today is regarded as Poland’s national treasure with his work exhibited around the globe.