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  • Writer's pictureDaria Danila

Art Exhibit in Amsterdam Brings Romanians Closer to Home

The Travellers exhibition introduces visitors to modern Romanian artists, illustrations and literature at the Romanian Library Netherlands (BiebRO) in Amsterdam.

Travellers exhibition © Romanian Library Netherlands

In a project made in collaboration with the Illustrator’s Club and the Department of Romanians Everywhere, the BiebRO is currently showcasing 40 illustrations, which have been brought from Romania especially for this exhibition. The event will be open to the public until November 12th.

Located on the second floor of the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA), the colourful prints invite visitors to take a journey through the imagination of Romanian illustrators. The art, which travelled all the way to Amsterdam, aims to represent the contemporary Romanian identity.

The illustrations make up a patchwork of unique styles, blanketing one of the walls of the Romanian Library. Some pieces capture detailed but subdued subjects, and some are unapologetic in their use of colour, encouraging visitors to feast on the richness of perspective in each print. Together, the collection provides a birds eye view of the world, through a distinct Romanian lens.

The title of the exhibition is indicative of a slew of journeys, not only just that of the pieces themselves. According to Maria Dicieanu, coordinator of BiebRO, the journey through art and what it represents is most important. “It’s about discovering the universe of a Romanian artist,” she says.

Travellers exhibition © Romanian Library Netherlands

The exhibition’s location in the OBA means that it is open to everyone, not just members of the Romanian expat community. Any visitors who walk around the library are welcomed, and encouraged, to admire the display. According to Dicieanu, ensuring that the art reaches as many people as possible, especially in the public space of the library, is “critical for offering visibility to Romanian artists.”

To her delight, when Dicieanu was able to speak to visitors about their impressions, people from all cultural backgrounds and walks of life were pleasantly surprised with the exhibit.

Travellers exhibition © Romanian Library Netherlands

Closer to home

For many Romanians living in the Netherlands, having access to art from their home countries takes the edge off of any homesickness they may feel, and brings them closer to what they are familiar with.

Andreea Ion has been a student in the Netherlands for the past four years, and feels she can easily reconnect with her Romanian identity through experiencing culture. “If I see art from my own country, I don’t really feel that much like an intruder, or someone who is only just establishing themselves here,” she explains.

This is what Dicieanu also hoped for with the Travellers exhibitions. She believes that the international context in which the art is presented offers it a unique ability to speak to the experiences of Romanian immigrants. “You can feel connected to both what is happening in Romania and in the Netherlands at the same time,” says Dicieanu.

Ion believes that this international showing of local culture is very much needed. She described that, while Romanian art and craftsmanship is scattered around the world, its specific Romanian provenance is often overlooked. “Romanian art is often shadowed, and I think it’s important to keep showing and talking about it everywhere,” she says.

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